Mi Reilly shows you can't get too much of a good thing
There has been enough written about the progeny of O'Reilly in this column in recent years to reinforce the proposition that he is very much the real deal as a stallion, and yet another of his progeny was previewed at the trials at Sha Tin last Tuesday.
Mi Reilly, trained by Alex Wong Yu-on, scampered down the straight in a turf trial over 800 metres and ran a significantly faster time than Perfect Smile did in the second heat over the same journey.
Mi Reilly's final 400m split of 21.9 seconds also attracted attention, together with the fact that he was always travelling significantly better than runner-up Wealth Synergy.
Mi Reilly arrived under private purchase permit, having raced under the same name in New Zealand for Gary Hennessy.
The gelding raced four times, winning two of them, though his other two runs were disasters on face value, beating only one runner to the line. But assessing the gelding in his best form, he won his maiden over 1,200m on good ground at Makaraka, and restricted handicap over 1,100m on heavy ground at Kumara, the latter by four lengths.
O'Reilly, a son of Last Tycoon and the Golden Slipper-winning filly Courtza, was a champion sprinter in New Zealand and has become a leading sire through sheer merit from his base at the Chittick family's Waikato Stud at Matamata. This season, he is leading the sires' premiership in Hong Kong as well as his native country, and in Australia is running third behind heavyweights Encosta de Lago and Zabeel.
Wealth Synergy is another New Zealand-bred gelding by the speed sire Minardi.
Wealth Synergy, a three-year-old, is prepared by Francis Lui Kin-wai and was handled by Brett Prebble.
Mi Reilly and Wealth Synergy drew clear in the final 200m and, while Mi Reilly appeared to be a bit more natural at the speed business, it must be remembered that this trial was only 800m and Wealth Synergy seems certain to appreciate further.
The pair pulled 41/2 lengths off third placed Supernova, a Stravinsky half-brother to the smart Firm Offer and prepared by the same trainer David Ferraris.
Supernova raced about three lengths off the speed and looked awkward under pressure in the final stages, probably nothing more than lack of experience chasing such a fast tempo.
Perfect Smile, winner of the second griffin heat at 800m, is a son of the well-bred Danehill stallion Cullen, best known here as the sire of last weekend's winner Joy And Fun.
Perfect Smile, handled by Thomas Yeung Kai-tong for Almond Lee Yee-tat, was one of the leaders throughout and kept on well under firm riding, with Yeung making sure he maintained his gallop right to the line.
Sure Gain, a son of Viking Ruler, showed significant improvement on his three failures. He was always travelling better than Perfect Smile.
The most meaningful statistic out of the trial was probably the big margin between second and third, nine lengths, suggesting the first two had a proper test and the form should therefore stand up well to race pressure.