Not many living the life of O’reilly
O’Reilly is New Zealand’s new ‘‘it’’ stallion.
The Waikato Stud stalwart has already achieved more than most stallions ever get to accomplish in their lifetime.
A Gr I-winning horse of the year as a racehorse, Last Tycoon stallion O’Reilly has already won all three of New Zealand’s stallion awards – the Grosvenor Award for champion stallion based on New Zealand earnings, the Dewar Trophy for champion stallion based on Australasian earnings and the Centaine Award for champion stallion based on international earnings.
O’Reilly won the Grosvenor Award for the first time in 2007-08 and doubled up last year.
He claimed the Dewar Trophy the same season, snapping Zabeel’s 12-year winning streak, and the following season he became the inaugural winner of the Centaine Award.
Zabeel, the benchmark for New Zealand stallions, won the Grosvenor and Dewar titles in the same season four times in the 1990s and O’Reilly has been the only other stallion to clinch the double, while Zabeel is the only stallion to have won the Centaine Award the same year as another title, combining it with his 14th Dewar Trophy title in 2009-10.
O’Reilly currently leads the Grosvenor and Dewar standings, seemingly having both awards wrapped up. He leads the Grosvenor list with stakes of more than $ 1.97 million, more than $400,000 clear of his nearest challenger, Savabeel, while his Australasian stakes of more than $6.1 million has him more than $1 million clear of his nearest challenger, Thorn Park, in the Dewar standings.
He holds down second spot in the Centaine Awards, though he is less than $280,000 behind fellow Waikato Stud stallion Pins, who leads on $8.12 million.
With O’Reilly mare Silent Achiever tackling the A$400,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes ( 2000 metres) in Sydney today, the stallion could well close the gap and although Pins will have the might of Hong Kong star Ambitious Dragon bidding to add to his stakes tally, O’Reilly is sure to have good representation at the upcoming Brisbane winter carnival to help his cause for an unprecedented sweep of the awards.
That’s a prospect that his Waikato Stud boss Mark Chittick excited.
‘‘Either way, it’s not going to be a bad result for us because Pins is out in front at the moment, but it would be quite incredible if O’Reilly could win all three,’’ Chittick said recently.
‘‘ Ambitious Dragon has got some big races coming up which could help Pins’ cause a bit but O’Reilly’s got Silent Achiever and a few other good runners coming up as well.
‘‘It might all come down to the BMW. If Silent Achiever had won that, I’m not sure O’Reilly would have been beaten.’’
The winner of the BMW, Fiveandahalfstar, earned $1.53 million, compared to the runner- up, Silent Achiever, who earned $487,000.
In the context of the Centaine Awards, that’s the difference between O’Reilly trailling by nearly $300,000 to being ahead by more than $750,000.
In that race, Silent Achiever had to drop back to last with James McDonald riding for luck along the inside in a race dominated by those on speed, so there’s a fair case to argue she was desperately unlucky.
‘‘It says a lot for a stallion when he can produce the winner of the Newmarket [Shamexpress], the Doncaster [Sacred Falls] and have the second horse in the BMW [Silent Achiever],’’ Chittick said.
‘‘The Doncaster was a massive result for O’Reilly and a massive result for New Zealand. From a family point of view, it was an overwhelmingly good tonic as well,’’ he added in reference to his wife Lisa, who has been ill.
‘‘To watch that win with Lisa and the kids, it was an unbelievable feeling. It really was.’’
Earlier this season Waikato Stud acquired a 25 per cent shareholding in Sacred Falls, which it bred and sold to Raffles Farm owner Dato Yap Kim San, and he will join his sire at the Matamata studfarm next year.
‘‘ When we bought back into him, I said then and I still maintain it, he’s the closest looking galloper to O’Reilly by O’Reilly,’’ Chittick said.
O’Reilly, whose service fee for next season has risen from $45,000 plus GST this season to $60,000 plus GST for next spring, not only leads the New Zealand sires’ list by earnings, but also by winners and stakes winners.
Over the course of his stud career, he has sired 65 individual stakes winners, 10 of them winning at Gr I level.
‘‘The next chapter for him is as a broodmare sire. Already in the top 10 lists for broodmare sire, it’s just him and Zabeel that are the only ones still alive,’’ Chittick said.
‘‘The versatility is the amazing thing for him. He’s left two-yearolds through to six and sevenyears-olds still winning, sprinters through to two-milers – he’s had a placing in the Melbourne Cup [Master O’Reilly ran fourth in 2009], and he’s had top fillies and top colts all over the world. He just leaves them all.’’
Top of his class: O’Reilly pictured here with David Fitzi, has already achieved more than most stallions ever get to accomplish in their lifetime.