O’Reilly Winning Roll Continues
29 April 2014
Waikato Stud sire O’Reilly has been riding a crest of a wave this season and is on track to defend his leading sire crown in New Zealand.
The son of Last Tycoon is the sire of 15 stakes winners in New Zealand and Australia this season and sits sixth on the Australia’s leading sires table.
O’Reilly was once again producing stakes winners in Australia with his two-year-old son Merion (NZ) (O’Reilly) tasting victory in the Listed A$120,000 Anzac Day Stakes (1410m) at Flemington on Friday.
O’Reilly has also sired the likes of Group 1 Ranvet Stakes and Group 1 BMW Stakes winner Silent Achiever (NZ) and Group 1 Doncaster Handicap winner Sacred Falls (NZ) in Australia this year.
Merion, a Karaka Premier Sale graduate, saluted for his first stakes victory at only his second start and remains unbeaten having won on debut, beating $1.975m Karaka Premier Sale graduate Eastern Cape (Fastnet Rock).
It looked like the Mike Moroney trained gelding was going to be desperately unlucky as he was held up behind runners for much of the straight after settling behind the leaders early in the race.
Rider Steven Arnold was eventually able to work Merion into a gap and the gelding sprinted quickly to race to the front in a blanket finish to win by half-a-length over Light Up Manhattan (Manhattan Rain), with fellow Karaka graduate Divan (NZ) (Zabeel) flying home late after missing the start to dead heat for third with Lazyaxl (Bianconi).
The win by Merion was the first of two winners on the day for Moroney who also saddled up another Karaka Premier Sale graduate Rhythm to Spare (NZ) (Pins) at Flemington.
“I was really impressed with the win,” commented Moroney on Merion’s effort. “I thought that, as Steven Arnold explained it, when he was getting held up and a lot of horses were getting clear runs it was a good effort to pick himself up and sprint from a standing start.
“We thought that the best part of his win was that he quickened right up after being held up and ran right through the line which indicates he might get a little bit further. He is still a learner, he has been quite natural but has not had a lot of practice.
“We will head towards a program around the Caulfield Guineas. He will go to the paddock now and we will work back from the Caulfield Guineas to give him his chance to get there.
“There is a bit of staying blood in his pedigree and he is a nice strong horse with a bit of muscle, a good size and is a lovely type of horse. He was Paul’s (Moroney) pick of the whole Sale. Going into the Sale he was the one he wanted to buy and looks as though the horse is reasonably smart.”
Friday’s win takes Merion’s earnings to A$82,500 for the gelding’s owners Ballymore Stables (Aust) Pty Ltd, R & C Legh Racing Pty Ltd, Miss K S Glindemann, Mr J A O’Neill, Mr B D Nettlefold, Mr A L Kirkwood-Scott & Carty Racing.
Merion was bred by Kevin Hickman, the breeder of another talented O’Reilly in Silent Achiever (NZ), a four-time Group 1 winner. Merion is out of Listed Timaru Cup winner Sapphire Belle (Danske), a half-sister to Able Way (Star Way), a multiple stakes placegetter on both sides of the Tasman.
Paul Moroney Bloodstock purchased Merion for $200,000 at the 2013 Karaka Premier Sale from Hickman’s Valachi Downs.