Not many liv­ing the life of O’reilly

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By AI­DAN ROD­LEY

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.

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