Tribute to 2018 inductee - O'Reilly (the horse) from Tony O'Reilly

This tribute to new 2018 inductee "O'Reilly" was read out as part of the Inductee ceremony.

Sir Tony O'Reilly is a world famous Irishman who first visited NZ in 1959 as part of the British Lions rugby team, and later as Chairman of Heinz when they purchased Wattie Industries.

O'Reilly (the horse) was sired by Last Tycoon (hence the name "O'Reilly"). 


Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

I am honoured that my equine namesake is being inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

Many years ago, my wife and I were walking to the stadium for an Ireland v Wales rugby match in Cardiff. There was a large crowd moving towards the ground when I heard a fellow traveler say to his friend, "Well, there he is -- there's the boyo." The other fellow who didn't recognize me said, "Who is he?" And the first man said, "He used to be Tony O'Reilly." Sic transit glorium.

Next to Ireland, New Zealand is my favorite country. Ever since I read Keith Sinclair's "A History of New Zealand," I have marveled at the equity of New Zealand society, its fairness and its aspirations. I have written about the magnificent performance of New Zealand's divisions under Major General Kippenberger in the desert and at Casino, so I am very proud to celebrate the achievements of a great horse and a great representative of New Zealand sport.

My wife Chryss is a breeder and racer of horses and tells me that O'Reilly's performance as a racehorse and as a sire in New Zealand has been an outstanding achievement, and New Zealand bloodlines will endure and prosper in his memory.
We are disappointed that we are unable to be present tonight for this special occasion and send our best wishes for a very enjoyable evening.

Tony O'Reilly