Champion stallion Dynasty produced the first two runners past the post in Friday’s R130 000 Listed Glenlair Trophy run over 3200m at Arlington. Cape visitor Paddy O’Reilly repaid trainer Mike Stewart’s and owner Jack Ward’s belief in his ability as he stormed home after an arduous road trip from his home base at Noordhoek, to beat the consistent year older Drill Sargeant.
The Stewarts hold office at The Dunes in the beautiful village of Noordhoek, located below Chapman’s Peak on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula, approximately thirty-five kilometres to the south of the Cape Town city centre.
For most 56 year olds the drive from Noordhoek to Cape Town would be sufficiently stressful with a horse in tow. Never mind the challenge of still following the N2 for a further 760km up the Garden Route through hours of pea soup mist to Port Elizabeth.
But not the feisty Irishman. He says that he encountered mist from the top of Sir Lowry’s Pass right through to Mossel Bay.
It usually takes him 9 hours, but the delays caused by the weather resulted in 11 hours behind the wheel.
“But hey, it’s shorter than driving to Durban!” he quipped with a laugh.
The uphill aside, the veteran horseman and his loyal Groom Peter Malidongwe came, they saw and they conquered in spectacular fashion, before a quick refreshment break and embarking on the long trip back home.
The race was run at a cracking gallop with Ice Flag leading most of the way and into the home straight as Paddy O’Reilly was settled in midfield, with his market rival, Drill Sargeant, a few lengths behind him.
Into the home run, apprentice Anthony Andrews took the shortest route home as Nooresh Juglall unleashed Drill Sargeant on the opposite end of the track.
In a matter of strides, the sons of Dynasty had the race under control, and it was Paddy O’Reilly that ran strongly and stormed clear down the inside rail to win going away by 4,25 lengths in a time of 210,62 secs.
The gallant Drill Sargeant ran an honest race in second to make it a Dynasty exacta, while Golden Parachute stayed on well for third.
Paddy O’Reilly was formerly trained by Glen Kotzen, who rated him highly. He did a tendon and had knee chips removed, before landing up at the traditional destination of the sick, lame and lazy.
Stewart has a fine reputation for sorting out thoroughbred ailments with patient dips in the icy cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean:
“ I ride Paddy in work every day and he has been improving steadily. The trick with race riding a horse who has had problems is not to push him, and Anthony (Andrews) did a great job. He settled him well and after they had gone so fast, they fell in a hole at the 400m and he stayed on really well. I can’t see the handicapper punishing him either for this win,” he said.
Stewart said he may give Paddy one more run before the Gold Cup, but would chat to owner Jack Ward before finalising his programme.
“I would take him up 9 days before the Gold Cup, give him 2 days recovery time and then take him down to the beach at Isipingo. That’s what I did with Hospitality, but in Paddy’s favour, he has seen Greyville, and that will make a big difference,” he said.
Paddy O’Reilly was bred by Jack Ward and his son Peter (Dubai based Vet), and Judy Dempsey, and is by Dynasty out of the two time winning West Man mare, West Donegal, who was trained by Dean Kannemeyer.
Paddy O’Reilly was recording his fourth win from 26 starts for 10 places and took his career earnings to R421 175.
He ran fourth in the Gr1 Investec Cape Derby of his year behind Bravura and is also Gr2 placed at 1800m. He last won on 27 April 2011.
The Stewart road show looks likely to throw the Gold Cup picture wide open.