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O'Reilly has eyes on Townsville Cup

Image credit: Louise Partland

By Jordan GerransR8-Flying-Jet-310821-2.jpg

The experience of having raced on the track last year has Yamanto trainer Peter O'Reilly confident a pair of his dogs will be competitive in the 2021 edition of the Townsville Cup.

O'Reilly kennel mates Flying Jet and Call Me Gibbs were the first two past the post in Tuesday evening’s Townsville Cup Prelude over 498 metres in North Queensland, ahead of the Cup heats on Friday night.

Flying Jet was just over a length faster than Call Me Gibbs, grabbing his 22nd victory of his 83-start career.

The dogs made the annual trip north 12 months ago, a journey O'Reilly has completed each of the last seven years, without much luck.

Those learnings and experience around the Townsville track has the trainer hopeful of a much better showing over the next 10 days.

“They have both grown a little bit since then, they are a bit more switched on this time around,” O'Reilly said.

“In 2020, they were sight unseen at the track and that is always hard to beat them in a Cup race like that.

“They are much better at the track now.

“It was good to give them another look at the track before the heats, they are backing up on Friday night, but they should have no worries with backing up these two dogs.”

Well-respected at the Ipswich Club, O'Reilly has taken a team of three dogs to the north of the state, a trip that he says he enjoys the drive every year to the city.

Townsville greyhound trainer Rhonda Essery houses O'Reilly and his kennel of dogs when he does head up every year.

The third of his northern kennel for a fortnight, Bailey, ran second on Tuesday night over 380 metres, in a positive night for the trainer.



Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 9:35 PM


R8-Flying-Jet-310821-3.jpgWearing the black rug, Flying Jet got home in 29.55 seconds over 498 metres, a time that does not catch your eye at first, but a heavy recent period of rain was behind it.

“They both went really well, as we could all see it was a pretty wet track on Tuesday night after the heavy rain and no dogs really ran any time,” O'Reilly said.

“She was pretty wet and they did not put the track around it until after race six.

“It was a pretty boggy track.

“I was very happy with the way they performed.”

O'Reilly has not yet won the Cup in his seven trips to the northern City and if he does not claim it later this month, he joked that he would just have to come back and have another crack in 2022.

Leading Brisbane trainer Tony Brett was set to travel to Townsville and aim star dog Orchestrate towards the Cup this year before the gun greyhound suffered a slight injury that prevented the opportunity.

O'Reilly is expecting a strong field for the heats come Friday night, a much stronger opposition than what his dogs defeated on Tuesday.

“They should hold their own but it all depends on who they meet because there is some good dogs coming,” he said.

The 2021 Cup will be raced at Group 3 level with the prize money increased to $40,000, up from $25,000 previously, with the race set to reach Group 2 status by 2023.

The heats will be run on Friday night before the big Final on September 10.

Flying Jet