Sweet relief for sidelined O'Reilly

By Mike Love, Harness News Desk

Sweet Belle provided a much needed pick me up for Ashburton trainer Gerard O’Reilly at Addington on Friday night when she won the tighter assessed Alabar mobile pace over 1980m.

O’Reilly has recently had a hip replacement, and was watching from his couch at home while he recovers.

“I got the hip done about 10 days ago. I’ll be out for about two - three months.

“It was good last night, exciting! Plenty of encouragement from the couch.”

Sweet Belle was restrained by driver Sarah O’Reilly from her wide draw, where she remained until being launched from the 400m, sustaining a strong run to win by three quarters of a length from Lifes A Beach. Sweet Belle’s sectionals were outstanding, according to Stridemaster clocking 56.2 for her final 800m on what was a cold, wet, wintery evening.

“I just thought she’d be an each-way show. We didn’t expect her to win.

“She’s got good staying qualities, and the race was run to suit. Sarah gave her a good run.”

That was daughter Sarah O’Reilly’s second race win on the mare.

“She loves driving her, and doing all the hard yards, so she’s got to have the drive!”

“Sarah comes and does her once she’s finished at Brent & Tim’s (White) for me. She loves her!”

Sweet Belle has now won nine from 49 career starts - a third of which have come this year, and $96,000 in stakes. She will keep racing through the winter, before possibly being put to stud.

“There’s a race about every fortnight for her over the winter.

“She’s a notch or two below the top mares - we may look to put her in foal in the spring.”


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