herald

Friday 21 September 2018

Cabra lad O'Reilly's got a bright future on the cards

SIMENON may have been our only Irish runner in the Emirates Melbourne Cup on Tuesday but at the Werribee track where the international runners are based for almost six weeks has been Cabra lad Ryan O'Reilly.

Werribee is a Melbourne suburb which O'Reilly has made his home over the last six weeks as he has been employed with the responsibility of taking care of Nicky Henderson's Spring Carnival runner Forgotten Voice.

And a big responsibility it has been too. At just 19, O'Reilly is in his third season with Henderson and Britain's champion jumps trainer has had no qualms about leaving him in charge while in Melbourne. In fact he didn't even send a second member of his staff down with the horse, which held a Melbourne Cup entry but just missed the cut for the famous race by two.

Forgotten Voice failed to justify favouritism in the Geelong Cup almost a fortnight ago but he has stayed down to run at Flemington tomorrow in the Queen Elizabeth Stake on Emirates Day, which concludes the Spring Carnival.

"He's in good form and he has come out of that last race well and we'll see a different horse when we get good ground next week," O'Reilly told the Herald.

To warrant the respect from such a highly distinguished trainer like Nicky Henderson speaks volumes for the Dubliner and he certainly appreciates the trust.

"Travelling over here for a champion trainer on such a major stage is quite overwhelming but I'm enjoying it and it's all going well so far," he said.

"I'm with Nicky since 2011 and it's all going well although I couldn't believe when I got the call up to take this trip. I ride Forgotten Voice every day at home and he had good wins at Royal Ascot and Goodwood so the owners decided to send him here with the flat season coming to an end in England and not many options left over there."

Henderson is in regular contact and while O'Reilly is relishing in his role he does look forward to returning to the action back at home.

"I'd be talking to Nicky every day discussing what I had done that day and what we'll do the next morning.

"I was delighted to take up the opportunity when it came but I do look forward to coming home and getting back schooling with Barry Geraghty and that, and getting into the jump season. I'll be taking out my amateur licence when I go back as well but it's not many places you get to school with the likes of Barry and Grade One jockeys."

 

Stronghold

With Cabra not being a racing stronghold, O'Reilly said that his time with Meath-based trainer Pat Martin set him off in the right direction.

"I started off in Pelletstown Equestrian Centre, which is owned by Barry Geraghty's parents, and then I worked with Patrick Martin at home and then to go to the racing school and from there to Seven Barrows (Henderson's yard). "I had no family in racing at all but I learnt a lot in my years with Patrick Martin and his brother Thomas actually taught me how to ride racehorses."

Well spoken, well regarded by a champion trainer and still only a teenager. He's far from a household name, but I just got the impression that could change in due course.

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