Lord O'Reilly on the improve, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Lord O'Reilly on the improve

Leslie Khoo-trained 5YO wins trial at Kranji in the fastest time with blinkers

If his trial victory on Tuesday morning with the blinkers on is anything to go by, former leading three-year-old Lord O'Reilly is ready to bounce back to the winner's circle.

The now five-year-old by O'Reilly turned in a much more encouraging effort by taking the lead from the start and never giving it up again in the 1,000m jump-out with jockey Z Zuriman astride.

He clocked 1min 01.79sec, the fastest time of the four trials staged that morning.

Lord O'Reilly has been disappointing since resuming from a one-year absence. He was unplaced in all three starts.

At his last outing wearing winkers on Nov 3, Lord O'Reilly was outpaced and had to be ridden out to keep in touch, before jockey Daniel Moor decided not to persevere any more in the home straight.

They ran last to Red Rover, which was a far cry from his sterling wins as a three-year-old against the likes of Zac Kasa or Imperium last year.

But trainer Leslie Khoo has got a glimmer of hope of a comeback win from Tuesday's trial from the horse he once thought could break his Group drought since taking up office in Singapore in 2008.

Although not the quickest away, the three-time winner mustered speed as he darted for the rails to take up the running.

Zuriman didn't have to touch him much and, while Sacred Rebel (Zawari Razali) and So Hi Class (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) did loom up inside the last 200m, Lord O'Reilly beat Sacred Rebel by a length under his own steam.

So Hi Class was third, just a nose away.

Although he had high hopes in last year's Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m, Khoo reckoned Lord O'Reilly did not handle the track.

"It was too shifty, and when he came back first-up, he won on the Polytrack. He enjoyed the firmer surface, I think," said the Singaporean handler.

"He's not been showing the same form as a three-year-old. I'm not sure what is the problem.

"But, at the same time, he's also had only three runs from a break, maybe he needs a few more runs to get back to his peak.

"He came back carrying a bit of condition, but he's trimmed up nicely since. Today, he had blinkers on again in the trial and I was very happy with his win.

"He was a lot more forward, more switched on. I think he has improved.

"There is a Class 3 race over 1,200m next week. He is running in that, and fingers crossed, he runs a better race."

Lord O'Reilly showed promise at his debut on Feb 4 last year, finishing a nice fourth in a Restricted Maiden event over 1,200m on turf.

He stepped up on that effort to score second-up in Restricted Maiden over 1,400m on March 2. Again, it was on turf.

Three weeks later, Lord O'Reilly fortified his position as a top-notch sprinter when he made it two-up in convincing manner. He clocked 1min 09.28sec for the 1,200m on turf.

He beat the talented grey Zac Kasa, who went on to finish second to Lim's Cruiser in the Group 1 Lion City Cup over 1,200m.

Lord O'Reilly's form tapered somewhat in his subsequent two Group bids, including the Guineas, before he bounced back for his third win on June 29 in Class 3. This time, he scored over the Polytrack 1,000m.

He has amassed $145,440 for MA Racing No. 2 Stable.