Lord O’Reilly showed that his lackluster run in the Singapore Guineas was nothing more than just a blip after he bounced back to his best with a pulsating win in the S$80,000 Class 3 race over 1000m on Polytrack on Friday night.
Though the O’Reilly three-year-old was at his first try over the alternative track, having raced exclusively over turf for his previous two wins from five starts, his barnstorming run from near-last to finish right over the top of his rivals vindicated his trainer Leslie Khoo’s decision for the switch in surface.
Coming down towards the top of the straight, Khoo and the punters who backed Lord O’Reilly down to $20 second-favouritism must have thought the all-weather was not his cup of tea after all.
Maybe it was the kickback he was copping, but he was not travelling all that kindly and also gave a fair start to $11 favourite Yulong Xiongyin (Benny Woodworth) who at the 300m marker was giving every sign he would sustain the two-length break he had opened up.
But once Alysha Collett eased Lord O’Reilly out into the clear, the galloping machine suddenly roared into life. Darting straight ahead like an arrow, Lord O’Reilly swallowed up one rival after another, but it still looked like the one that mattered – Yulong Xiongyin – would get away with the winning post looming fast.
The momentum, however, was swinging his way as he kept quickening away to whoosh past Yulong Xiongyin with a neck to spare on the line.
The winning time was 59.02 seconds for the 1000m on the Polytrack.
“I was not worried about the drop back in trip, more the surface. It was his first time on Polytrack, but I felt he needed a firm surface,” said Khoo.
“He is no good on turf if it’s too shifty, like it was in the Guineas. He’s better on firm ground.
“I was actually looking for a turf race but there was none for him and that’s why I put him on Polytrack because it’s a firm surface. That will give me a few more options with him from now on.
“He’s still a young horse and there is still room for improvement.”
Collett said the course and distance was a query, but the dashing galloper answered them in the best way possible.
“He gave me an absolutely beautiful ride. He got to the line really strongly,” said the Kiwi jockey.
“There was a query over the 1000m, but the perfect tempo played into our hands. He was just too good once I took him to the outside.”
After posting that third win, Lord O’Reilly is now the stakes winner of close to S$140,000 for the MA Racing No 2 Stable. -STC