Killarney showed at Te Rapa today why his trainer, Roger James, has made no secret of the high regard in which he is held.
The three-year-old son of O’Reilly was backed into hot favouritism for his debut in the Te Kauwhata Tavern Bar & Restaurant 1200 and he gave his supporters no cause for concern as he cleared out for an impressive three-length win in the hands of Vinnie Colgan.
Killarney earned that favouritism on the strength of a private reputation plus a trials win in his sole previous public appearance. That trial was at Cambridge last January when he won by three lengths from Crookshanks, who made a successful debut a race earlier today.
“I’ve been a bit cautious with him as traditionally I would have trialled him again,” said James.
“I’ve been waiting for a reasonable track. He’s quite a special horse. I do think he’s the real deal.”
Those comments were made pre-race by James and his opinion of Killarney proved well and truly justified.
After bouncing out well, Killarney settled fifth and was angled out nearing the home turn, at which stage it was obvious he was travelling better than his rivals.
Once balanced for the run home, Killarney let down nicely and grabbed the lead inside the 200 metres, drawing out to win with ease.
Colgan was suitably impressed by Killarney, who had been ridden in his trials win by Michael McNab.
“He’s very new to it all,” said Colgan. “When I asked him to pick it up 350 metres out it was instant. He found the line nice and strongly.”
James was thrilled to see Killarney live up to expectations.
“I think I like him even more now,” said James after the race. “I’m very lucky to have a patient group of owners. As a five-year-old he could be anything.
“He’ll have a light sprint and in the autumn he’ll be ready for more.”
- Cambridge JC | Pic Race Images