O'Reilly out to chase premiership
By Jonny Turner
No other horseperson in New Zealand is in the position Sarah O’Reilly has found herself in going into tonight’s Forbury Park.
The talented junior reinswoman holds the only hope of chasing down a premiership leader before the end of the current season among New Zealand’s trainers and drivers.
O’Reilly’s 41 wins this term put her eighth behind the current leader and two-time junior driver’s premiership winner John Morrison.
Blair Orange and Robert Dunn both have New Zealand’s drivers and trainers categories wrapped up leaving Morrison and O’Reilly battle out the closest run of the three premiership categories.
Morrison, who also drives at Forbury Park tonight, has one hand on his third premiership win with his big eight-win lead.
But O’Reilly will not be giving up until the race is over.
“I have been looking at it all season, but I haven’t been able to catch Johnny, he seems to get a gazillion more drives than me.”
“It will be hard to catch him but I won’t be giving up, I will be giving it my best shot until the end of the season.”
O’Reilly looks a big chance of adding to her 41 wins this term at tonight’s meeting.
Among the Canterbury driver’s best hopes is Zealous Spur, who steps out on his home track for trainer Darryn Simpson.
The trotter ran a solid third at Ascot Park last weekend and should strip fitter tonight after being freshened prior to his return.
“It was his first run for a wee while last weekend and he went good,” O’Reilly said.
“Hopefully he will be better this week, I would like to think he would be hard to beat.”
O’Reilly also combines with another strong winning hope in Franco Hoffman in race 7.
Several of the reinswoman’s 41 wins this season have come for trainer Michael House and the five-year-old could add to their total going by his nice last start second at Addington.
“He ran second in an amateur race in his last start at Addington and he went quite a good race.”
“He has quite a good draw (2) so hopefully he should get a good run from there and he will be a good chance.”
O’Reilly also combines with Shards Of Manhattan, trained by her employers Cran and Chrissie Dalgety, in race 6.
The junior driver hopes to drive the filly to best suit her best asset.
“I am hoping to drive her for one run, she seems to go her best races driven that way.”
“She is in quite a suitable race, so with a bit of luck she can go a good race.”
O’Reilly rounds out her night by driving Midnight Memphis in race 9 for House.
The five-year-old disappointed in his last start at Ascot Park but gets a perfect draw to improve on that run in barrier 1.
“He paced roughly last time so hopefully the team have worked their magic during the week.”
“From the draw he should be a place chance.”
Morrison has four drives at Forbury Park tonight in his quest to maintain his lead in the national junior driver’s premiership.