O'Reilly with good each way chances at Timaru today

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

It will be a case of deja vu for Ashburton trainer-driver Gerard O'Reilly when he ventures an hour down the road to Timaru today.

On March 24 two of his drives Ari On Safari and Illegal Alien both finished second at Oamaru - now he's linking up with both of them again at Phar Lap Raceway this afternoon.

"Both are top three chances for sure," says O'Reilly.

Ari On Safari is a $5.50 second favourite in Race 4, the Manfert Pace, after a tough second on debut, one length behind Interpol.

He's drawn the second line draw (13) over 2000m.

"A lot of it depends on just how close he lands," says O'Reilly.

"He was a bit green at Oamaru and I think the grit will suit him."

O'Reilly has had a fair bit to do with the Always B Miki - Jive Denario three-year-old, having broken him in for Warren and Chris Hyndman, who bred the horse and now share in his ownership.

"He's got some potential and once he's filled out he'll be a better horse in 12-18 months."

The early favourite in the race is the Laurence Hanrahan-trained Champagne Nen ($3.30FF).

The Bettor's Delight mare has only had one placing in seven starts but has shown plenty of zip at the trials.

Driver Ricky May has no doubt she has the ability but is wary.

"As long as she behaves at the start, she did have a wee skip at the trials but she is going good."

Also favoured in the market is Farewell Spit at $5.50 for the driver-training combo of Blair Orange and Andrew Stuart.

O'Reilly's second and final drive for the day, Illegal Alien, is currently a $2.70 favourite in Race 6, the Jim Williamson Memorial Trot.

Trained by Kevin James, the six race winner has a perfect draw (2), and finished second to the veteran Take After Me last start.

"She's honest and is a good beginner so she should settle handy early."

One El ($3.20) and Prince Ranier ($3.50) are also well supported.

Timaru's seven race programme gets underway at 1.45pm.

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