O’Reilly Mot’s driver to follow
By Jonny Turner
A standout book of drives awaits Gerard O’Reilly at Motukarara on Tuesday.
Among them are two leading chances from his own stable, including unbeaten filly Sweet Belle.
The three-year-old returned to racing in style when cruising to an effortless win at Methven earlier this month.
After leading in both of her career wins, Sweet Belle is set to face a much different challenge when she starts from the outside of the second row in race 10.
But O’Reilly thinks she is ready for it.
“She is good enough to overcome it, but the draw is going to be hard on her.”
“We are relying on something taking off and following them around.”
“I wouldn’t really want to take off on my own, but hopefully she can get dragged into it, that would be ideal.”
If Sweet Belle cannot get a cart into race 10 she may have to be driven for one run.
And if that is the case she can produce a lethal turn of foot.
“There are no worries there,” O’Reilly said.
“When she trialled up a couple of times she came from the trail or three back and she sprinted up nicely.”
“So, she is pretty versatile.”
O’Reilly starts another horse from his own barn in race 5 in A Rocknroll Star.
The three-year-old looked smart when sprinting well to win a grass track trial at Orari ahead of his debut.
“He is a lovely wee horse and he has been really nice since I have had him.”
“He qualified really well and then he had a spell and he has come back and he has trialled up nicely again.”
“So, he should put himself in the race and be right there.”
O’Reilly reunites with the Kevin Townley trained Sally Lindenny in race 6.
The five-year-old looks a big winning chance following her effort to run a close up third after making a slow beginning in her last start at Rangiora.
“If she begins with them she will be right in it,” O’Reilly said.
“She went great at Rangiora, that is the best she has gone for a long time.”
“It has taken a while, but it was great and she should be right in the finish if she trots.”
O’Reilly will again combine with Laver after their win over subsequent Westport Cup winner Kruizer at Addington earlier this month.
The Geoff and James Dunn trained four-year-old will be out to continue his brilliant run of form from the 10m mark in the Motukarara Christmas Cup.
“He has come to it really good,” O’Reilly said.
“He has got stronger as he has gone on and I can’t see why he won’t be in the finish.”
“His two runs at Cup Week were massive and he has just gone on from there.”
Laver often races on the speed, but may not get the chance to do that without doing some extra work from his 10m handicap.
That is not something O’Reilly thinks will be a big concern going into the 2810m feature.
“He came behind at Kaikoura, they went hard early and he went straight past them.
“If they go hard it won’t really worry him, I don’t think.”
O’Reilly also drives Vincent Van Gone for the Dunn stable in race 8.
The three-year-old made use of barrier 1 to run second in his last start at Rangiora.
Though he faces a different challenge with saddlecloth number 15 on Tuesday, his driver thinks he can still make an impact.
“He is starting to grow up.”
“When the Dunns first got him he was a bit of an ignorant pulling horse.”
“But he is starting to settle in his races.”
“He is more of a rolling type, but again if they go hard and he gets a drag around them he will be amongst them again.”
Megarock in race 3 looks among the best of O’Reilly’s remaining chances at Motukarara.
The Brian Kerr trained five-year-old went a sound race for fourth in his last start at Methven.
O’Reilly also drives Nugget Ridge in race 1, Maldito in race 2, Mega Rock in race 3, Momentous in race 11 and Maurice in race 12.