O’Reilly Warhorse Back In Action
31 August 2011
Veteran Master O’Reilly, who was retired after running in his fourth successive Melbourne Cup last spring, is set to make a comeback in Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington.
The nine-year-old warhorse, who has raced 45 times for eight wins but hasn’t scored since his victory in the 2007 Caulfield Cup, is back with his original trainer Judy Mawer after four years with Danny O’Brien.
“I actually brought him in to be a lead pony and it’s gone on from there. He just got better and better and that’s when we thought we’d give him another go,” Mawer, who was given a share in the horse by his breeder-owner Bill Sutcliffe early in his career, said.
“He came back 12 weeks ago and he loves the attention. I think he’s been in stables too long. It’s quite exciting him going back to the racetrack, he likes it. I wish I had another half a dozen like him.”
Matthew Allen will ride the nine-year-old in what will be his fourth consecutive appearance in the Gr 2 Makybe Diva (1600m), a race in which he ran third to former stablemate Vigor in 2009. The O’Reilly gelding received 52kg in this year’s Caulfield Cup when weights were released on Tuesday but Mawer said she would feel her way with him before any decisions were made on the Cups. “If we get to them we get to them, it’s all good,” Mawer said.
“We take him to the track and he works out in the sand hills or on the track. We’ve been using him as a lead pony and he’s been working with a minimum of three horses a day so if he can stand up to that he’d stand up to a prep you’d think.”
Master O’Reilly’s best finishes in the Melbourne Cup were fourths in 2008 and 2009 and he also ran in three Caulfield Cups from 2007 but was scratched from the race last year. A top-three finish on Saturday would take him past the $A3 million mark in prize money.
Source: Racing and Sports.