Trainer Stephen O’Halloran made the journey to Australian shores in 2003 to work for Gai Waterhouse. The Irish-born O’Halloran worked with the legendary ‘first lady of racing’ for almost 17 years, until Waratah Thoroughbreds came knocking in early 2020.
Waratah Thoroughbreds is a major breeding, spelling and racing operation based in Moss Vale. It’s a picturesque horse haven. When they offered O’Halloran an opportunity to become a trainer, it was an offer too good to refuse.
“I came down here from Sydney to check out the facilities and they were just incredible,” O’Halloran said. “The opportunity was one I couldn’t say no to.”
O’Halloran has only had 15 runners since making the move into training and has already managed 2 winners and 4 minor placings. Both of those wins have come from the talented Riot Act*.
Riot Act will step up in grade when he lines up in the TAB Federal, the feature race today (7 August) at Thoroughbred Park but Trainer O’Halloran is confident that his galloper can handle the challenge.
“He’s in fantastic form,” O’Halloran said. “He’s won his last two in country grade but he’s won with enough in his back pocket for me to be confident that he will handle the stronger race on Friday.”
According to stable officials, Riot Act was given his name as a young horse who was prone to being a little naughty. It seems the penny has dropped for the four-year-old gelding who now seems to be hitting his stride after wins from his last two starts at Nowra and Goulburn.
Riot Act is also nominated for a race at Kembla Grange on Thursday but O’Halloran has indicated that he will choose to race for the $30,000 on offer in the TAB Federal.
Also racing in the feature race on Friday, the local Away She Goes has been in terrific form of late, most recently scoring victory in the Paul Miller TAB Federal at Thoroughbred Park on 24 July. Trainer Luke Pepper is confident his mare is going well enough to win again but is wary of the impending rain with more than 15 mm forecast for race day.
“She has pulled up super from her run a fortnight ago where she hit the line really hard,” Pepper said. “She has really matured in recent times and has gone from strength to strength.
“She will line up if the track can stay within the Soft range but I’m not sure if I’ll send her around if the rain comes and makes the track Heavy.”
The 7-year-old mare now has five wins from 29 starts and has accrued $93,875 in prizemoney.
There look to be a number of key chances in the feature race, with Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary’s Katie Did It as well as Canberra-based trainer Keith Dryden’s trio Prince Jacko, Sweet Knuckle, and Wichita Warrior all engaged.
The TAB Federal will be Race 7 on Friday’s program and will kick off at 4:05 pm. Racing begins at 12:20 pm.
*Riot Act (the horse) has no connection with The RiotACT or Region Media.