Killarney living up to reputation

Killarney stretching out nicely for rider Vinnie Colgan to win at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Killarney stretching out nicely for rider Vinnie Colgan to win at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Killarney once again showed why trainer Roger James rates him so highly when he passed his first Ellerslie test last Saturday.

The Cambridge trainer has made no secret of his big opinion of Killarney, even before he made a successful debut over 1200 metres at Te Rapa last September.

“He’s quite a special horse. I do think he’s the real deal,” commented James after that first-up win. “As a five-year-old he could be anything.”

Killarney had to settle for a distant second behind another smart Cambridge performer, Lizzie L’Amour, in his second start, but that run didn’t change James’ assessment of the four-year-old son of O’Reilly.

James did, however, have some reservations going into last Saturday’s event, Killarney’s first start outside the Waikato district. “Ellerslie can trip the best of them up their first time or two,” he said.

Killarney shed that worry when charging away with the Ellerslie Jewellers & Engravers 1200 for rider Vinnie Colgan.

Colgan settled him back and after being briefly held up soon after straightening for the run home he got him into the clear and asked him to sprint. Killarney responded well to grab the lead and draw away to beat runner-up Al Pacino by a length and a quarter.

“He is a big greenhorn but he has a lot of ability,” said James.” Long term I think he’ll be up to the very best.”

Killarney is entered for the inaugural Dunstan Rising Stars Championship (1500m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

“I don’t know if he will cope with the 1500 metres but I will talk to Vinnie to see if that’s the right thing to do with him,” said James.

Killarney is raced by his co-breeders Daniel and Elias Nakhle in partnership with Rod Balcombe, Greg Jones and John Struthers, long-time clients of the James stable. The Nakhles also raced his dam, Irish Colleen, who showed a liking for Ellerslie with four of her seven wins being on the track.