O’Reilly offspring shines
WHILE superstar sprinter Black Caviar has been wowing Australian racegoers on her way at an unbeaten sequence of 12 wins, a three-year-old by the name of Shamrocker has also been rewriting the record books across the Tasman.
Shamrocker, who last Saturday became the first filly to complete the Australian Guineas-AJC Derby double, was born and reared in the Matamata district and is yet another of the many top horses sired by Waikato Stud’s home-bred champion O’Reilly.
Her breeders are Auckland couple Vern and Margaret Trillo, who keep their broodmares and young stock at Hinuera Valley farm Valachi Downs, which is managed by Basil Treymane, the brother of former successful jockey Catherine Treymane.
Vern is well known in these parts as an equine dentist who takes care of the dental needs of many horses at stables, studs and agistment farms in the Matamata region. He and his wife Margaret have two broodmares, Shamrocker’s dam Bohemian Blues and an older daughter, Kablues, and are currently having the time of their lives as the breeders of Australia’s top staying filly.
Shamrocker was born at Waikato Stud in the spring of 2007 and was prepared at Valachi Downs for the 2009 National Yearling Sale, where she made $65,000 to the bid of Karl Brown, acting on behalf of Melbourne trainer Danny O’Brien. After wins in the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes as an autumn two-year-old and more recently two of the real prizes of age-group racing, the Australian Guineas and AJC Derby, Shamrocker is now being described as one of racing’s great bargains, with her stake-earnings now topping $2 million.
Her breeders are in no way disappointed at letting their filly go at such a price; rather they’re celebrating her every success and are happy to receive any accolades that come their way.
‘‘I think it’s just fantastic, I’ve bred and raced some quite smart horses over the years but none as good as this filly,’’ said Vern Trillo. ‘‘She surprised us when she won that race at Flemington as a two-year-old and we wondered how good she might become, but we never imagined that she would turn out this good!’’
As an early three-year-old last spring Shamrocker finished second in the VRC Oaks to the Mike Moroney-trained Brazilian Pulse – another bargain buy at just $26,000 at the same Karaka sale – and on Saturday the pair will go head-to-head again in the AJC Oaks.
Since her VRC Oaks placing Shamrocker has developed further, beginning early last month with her defeat of the best Melbourne three-year-olds in the Australian Guineas and added to by her easy win as the only filly in last Saturday’s AJC Derby. Brazilian Pulse, in the meantime, returned to winning form three weeks ago at the Sydney carnival and finished third in her final lead-up to the Oaks 10 days ago.
There’s further Matamata flavour to the AJC Oaks on Saturday in the form of the Waikato Stud-bred and owned pair of entries in Do Ra Me and Dating, daughters of Savabeel and O’Reilly respectively.
‘‘It’s great to see what Shamrocker’s doing, she’s obviously one out of the bag,’’ said Waikato Stud manager Mark Chittick, ‘‘but on the other hand it’s a bit frightening that she’s backing up for the Oaks as well. That makes it so much harder to win.’’
Shamrocker’s trainer Danny O’Brien has a long and successful association with Waikato Stud, which includes developing Glamour Puss to be one of the best sprinters of her time several years ago and preparing O’Reilly gelding Master O’Reilly to win the 2007 Caulfield Cup.
Now, even before Shamrocker has completed her three-year-old season, he’s eyeing up races like the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in the spring.
‘‘I’ve had a lot of success with the progeny of O’Reilly,’’ he said earlier this week. ‘‘The one thing they have in common on top of their ability is that they keep getting better as they mature, so what this filly has achieved so far certainly bodes well for the future.
‘‘For a long time she’s impressed me as a natural stayer and now that she’s qualified for the big spring races that’s what we’ll be aiming her at.’’
Meanwhile, back in Matamata, Vern and Margaret Trillo have a two-year-old sister to Shamrocker in the Peter McKay stable, a weanling half-sister by Lucky Unicorn at Valachi Downs, and Bohemian Blues is back in foal to O’Reilly.
‘‘From what Peter tells me he really likes his filly, so we’re looking forward to getting her to the races in time,’’ said Vern, who sold the yearling colt by Shinko King from Bohemian Blues for $200,000 at the National Yearling Sale in February.
O’Reilly: Filly Shamrocker, pictured with her mother Bohemian Blues as a month-old foal at Waikato Stud in the spring of 2007.