More gold for O'Reilly - White combo

By Mike Love

It was a big weekend for the combination of Ashburton trainers Brent and Tim White, and their gun driver and stable employee Sarah O’Reilly.

After an emphatic victory at Alexandra Park in the listed Roy Purdon Memorial with American Me on Friday night, it was another rising stable star in Clonakilty who was impressive in taking out the Anne Thompson Graduation Series final at Rangiora yesterday.

“It was pretty good!” says O’Reilly.

Clonakilty made it two wins from as many starts and stamped himself as a serious horse going forward, as he put his rivals away.

“He’s done everything right so far. The owners are going to have a lot of fun with him. He’s still on the up. It’s exciting.”

Clonakilty was eased off the gate by O’Reilly from their wide barrier draw. Race favourite Chicago Bear set up a hot speed which would eventually play into the hands of Clonakilty. Moving up to sit parked from the 1200m, they were able to eyeball and outmuscle Chicago Bear from the quarter before streeting the field to win by one and three quarter lengths from Pioneer with Chicago Bear holding third.

“We were travelling pretty good on the bend and I thought we would have a good chance at winning, but I didn’t expect him to do it so easily,” says O'Reilly.

Clonakilty first came to O’Reilly’s attention after a workout drive and suggested to the Whites he would be a nice purchase for the stable.

“I drove it at the workouts for Danny McKendry and he asked me if I knew of anyone who wanted to buy a horse. So I suggested him to Brent and Tim and we got some owners together. It’s worked out good.”

O’Reilly now faces a few milestones upcoming in her career. This Friday will see the Ashburton-based reinswoman take her first drive in the Group 1 Auckland Cup when she reunites with American Me.

“It’ll be very exciting to have a drive in the Auckland cup.”

“He stepped really good on Friday, which was the main thing. It worked out really good. Hopefully he can do that again this week.”

Adding to that, O’Reilly is sitting on 298 career driving wins.

“It will be nice to get to 300. I was stuck on 199 for a while before I got to 200. So hopefully it doesn’t take that long with this one.”

The Whites also won with Sophia Rose earlier in the week at Addington driven by Samantha Ottley making it three winners and a second from six starters to the races for the team.

Meanwhile, The Anne Thompson Graduation series final for the trotters was taken out by Four Wise Women for Woodend trainers Craig and Aimee Edmonds - making it a double on the programme after Radha won impressively on debut in the prior race.

Four Wise Women began well for driver Blair Orange only to find themselves parked for the first 1400m of the race before acquiring the one-one position. Orange was able to angle wide on the turn and gave Four Wise Women all but the length of the straight to pick up a game pacemaker Edward Longshanks, with the Edmonds runner A Fine Patrick filling the third spot

Four Wise Women remains unbeaten from three starts.

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