O'Reilly the star of the Flemington show

3 min read
Waikato Stud’s champion stallion O’Reilly (NZ) may no longer be with us, but his influence continues to be far-reaching and never better emphasised than at Flemington on Saturday.

As has been his custom, he played another starring role on the big stage with outstanding performances from his sons Grunt and Brutal.

And it caught attention from all parts of the racing globe with the phone of the Matamata nursery’s principal Mark Chittick running hot.

“It was incredible and I was getting messages of congratulations from all over the world,” he said. “Even though he is gone, he’s far from forgotten and it was wonderful to see.”

“It was incredible and I was getting messages of congratulations from all over the world.” – Mark Chittick.

Grunt doubled his tally at the highest level when he returned to Flemington, where he won last season’s G1 Australian Guineas, to reign supreme in the G1 Makybe Diva S., for trainer Mick Price. The Caulfield conditioner had been confident the roomy track would once again bring out the best in the 4-year-old, who had been out of the money in his first two outings this preparation on the trickier Caulfield lay-out.

His success came off the back of the unbeaten Brutal making it three straight victories with a determined front-running display to triumph in the Listed Antler Luggage Plate. He was bred by Ruth Kerr-Taylor and Anne Storey and sold through Mapperley Stud’s draft at Karaka.

Options aplenty for star duo

Plans for the pair are uncertain with Group 1 options for Grunt including the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and the Cox Plate. On the radar of the Team Hawkes-trained Brutal are the Golden Rose, the Caulfield Guineas, the Coolmore Stud S., or Wayne Hawkes even indicated the 3-year-old may be given a break.

Plenty of options await Grunt after his win in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes

Whatever the immediate future brings, both horses are doing their sire O’Reilly proud.

“Trelawney bred and sold Grunt and they have been incredibly close friends and supporters of the stallion. It’s fantastic that they have bred another top quality colt by him,” Chittick said.

“It’s fantastic that they have bred another top quality colt by him.” - Mark Chittick.

“The other thing that’s terrific is that Rupert Legh is involved in both horses and he’s a shareholder in Tivaci. He’s obviously a very high profile owner in Australia and for him to be supporting the New Zealand industry is just wonderful.

It was a close contest between Brutal (yellow cap) and Leonardo Da Hinchi

“O’Reilly has had an incredible influence on our industry and even last week Sacred Falls had his first trial runner and winner and now these two stallion quality colts have come out and won, it’s all looking very good.”

A dual Group 1 winner in a career restricted by injury to six starts, the son of Last Tycoon (IRE) and the G1 Golden Slipper winner Courtza (NZ) (Pompeii Court {USA}) retired to stud in 1997 and subsequently produced 13 individual Group 1 winners. O’Reilly was a multiple champion sire and passed away in 2014.