Gladiator strikes at Nelson
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
The Gerard O’Reilly trained Striking Gladiator made it back-to-back wins when taking out the Hoani Jack Cup (2400m) at Nelson on Friday.
The son of Mach Three was beaten for speed off the mobile and took an early sit three back on the markers behind early speedsters Silk and Invisible Girl.
Heading into the straight for the first time driver Sarah O’Reilly asked her charge to improve to take control of the race at the bell.
From there the pair were able to dictate terms and ran away to a 1-3/4 length victory over the late closing Anamajor, with a further three lengths back to Boom in third.
Gerard O’Reilly was pleased with the win and said the four-year-old had finally learnt to be a racehorse after his last start victory over 2200m at Forbury.
“I was really thrilled with his win today,” O’Reilly said, “He came into that really well and he has clicked onto the racing game. He is getting better all the time.
“It was a good run down at Forbury and the time he went was good.
“He has been working really nicely since then. We just hoped he would get a good run and Sarah drove him well. She let him go early and then got around at the right time and he went well.
“He will go around again on Sunday.”
Stablemates A Rocknroll Star and Glamour Boy will also likely back-up on Sunday after their fourth and eighth placings respectively on Friday.
Glamour Boy nearly missed the start of the Mount Hutt Trotting Club Mobile Pace (2400m) after breaking before the start. However, driver Sarah O’Reilly was able to quickly get him back into his gait, but they faced an uphill struggle coming from the back off a hot pace.
“He was a bit disappointing at the start,” O’Reilly said. “It was an upside-down run race with them going hard so early. But he passed quite a lot of them, he will get better, but I think he is still another year away.”
O’Reilly was in the bike himself behind A Rocknroll Star and he was happy enough with his fourth-placing in the David And Jan Birdling Trust Pace (2400m).
“I had to go a bit earlier than I wanted to, but he has come through it really well and he will keep on improving. I am quite happy with him.”
O’Reilly currently sits on four wins for the season, just two shy of last season’s tally and he is pleased that some of his runners are finally coming of age.
“We have got quite a nice wee team at the moment that has been three years in the making,” he said. “You put a bit of time into them and hope they reward you, and it’s good that that is starting to happen.”