O’Reillys dominate Addington card
By Jonny Turner
Matua Tana provided the star turn with a crushing victory as father and daughter Gerard and Sarah O’Reilly racked up wins at Addington on Friday night.
The big striding trotter edged out Interdominion placegetter, Majestic Man, after a stirring home straight battle to score the first leg of a driving double for O’Reilly senior.
The victory came after Gerard scored an upset win with The Falcon for trainer Geoff Dunn.
The Rakaia horseman was also in the winner’s circle as a trainer when Striking Gladiator strode to a comfortable maiden victory with Sarah, who part owns the 3yr-old, in the sulky.
The victory was also provided the first leg of a winning double for the junior reinswoman.
Her subsequent win with Alta Endeavour not only rounded out her double, it gave her bragging rights on drive home with her father after he had to settle second with Laver in a father-daughter quinella.
Matua Tana made a big statement when sitting outside star open class trotter Majestic Man to win Friday night’s feature 1980m trot.
The Phil Williamson trained runner-up, who was fresh up and without the benefit of a recent race, rolled off the inside when in front at the 500m to allow Phoebe Onyx to sneak up the inside and set up a slightly bizarre, but exciting finish.
Despite sitting parked for most of the race and then racing three wide before the turn, Matua Tana reeled in Majestic Man to seal a big win.
“It was a really good win,” Gerard said.
“He is a lovely big trotter and he is only going to get better as he gets stronger.”
Matua Tana’s victory came without a hint of the rough steps he has been known to put in in the past.
O’Reilly said the big Love You trotter felt brilliant in his gait.
“He trotted really well – he felt great.”
“The mobile is a big help for him, it is usually just the start that worries him, he can lose concentration.”
“But, after than he is usually really good.”
Aggressive tactics paid big dividends when The Falcon broke maidens with O’Reilly in the sulky.
The 3yr-old charged around the field with a lap to go before going on to score a stylish win at $29 odds.
“He is a really nice horse and Geoff has always thought a big of him, but he has lacked a little bit of top speed,” Gerard said.
“I didn’t think I was going to get the front when I got around, but I did and he went super.”
Striking Gladiator’s win should not be his last for the father and daughter combination of Gerard and Sarah O’Reilly.
Partially because the pacer does not fit the mould of a typically headstrong son of Mach Three.
The 3yr-old has quite the opposite temperament to that of many of his sire’s offspring.
And that is why O’Reilly thinks the horse can handle stepping up in grade in the future.
“He is just a really cool dude, he is very laidback and a really neat horse to do anything with.”
The O’Reillys’ brilliant night out was capped when Sarah drove Alta Endeavour to win for her employers, Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon.