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You’ve got to love ‘Herbie’ - Gerard says with his attitude comes more than a VW motor

It’s hardly surprising that Violet Knight paced nearly 11 seconds under qualifying time at Methven last Sunday - trainer Gerard O’Reilly says ‘Herbie’ is always in a hurry to go somewhere.

O’Reilly calls the three-year-old son of Sir Lincoln “a bit of a dag”.

“He has a funny attitude to life and with a mind of his own he doesn’t like waiting around for anything.”

That’s why O’Reilly put him in a mobile qualifier at the Mt Hutt trials - “He’s a bit impatient and might have ended up going the wrong way in a standing start!”

Gerard O’Reilly … Violet Knight goes well and will be a lot better in eight months.Gerard O’Reilly … Violet Knight goes well and will be a lot better in eight months.But O’Reilly says Herbie’s worth persevering with because he has a motor and it made no difference that he had to trial solo as he’s a runner and he’s tough.

Herbie was timed to run his mobile 2300 metre heat on the grass in 2:58, a mile rate of 2:04.5, with good closing sectionals of 60.1 and 32.

Compare it with the times set by the maidens later in the programme and you’d infer he’s pretty special - three other heat winners clocked 10 to 12 seconds slower.

But O’Reilly tempers the effort by revealing that the markers were shifted out four to five horse widths after Herbie trialled, meaning the others probably ran up to 100 metres further.

Herbie, however, will definitely make the grade, says O’Reilly who has been impressed by how the horse has raced among other runners even after tardy starts in standing start workouts. (The video shows him in his very first workout in October)

“He’s got enough ability to win a race or two. He’s just a bit too ignorant for his own good at the moment. You can’t bully him, you’ve got to go with him. But he’ll be a lot better in another eight months.”

O’Reilly is giving Herbie 10 days off now before preparing him for a debut around Christmas time when he hopes he will provide stable stalwart Richard Ashworth and his eight friends plenty of fun.

Violet Knight is the eighth and last foal of the three-win mare Lilac Franco, whose best so far have been Lilac Desire (six wins) and Meads Quaff (five wins).

His sire Sir Lincoln, who stands for Lincoln Farms at Alabar Stud in south Auckland for just $2000, is expected to have good representation among the three-year-old crop this season after serving 101 mares in 2015-16, one of his biggest books. His oldest progeny are only five but he has already left 66 winners.

Last season Sir Lincoln left 22 winners of 36 races from only 50 starters and so far this term he has sired six winners from 22 starters.

Race Images - Gallops

Sir Lincoln Top 10

Did you know…

1. CUP DAY BIRTH: It was preordained Sir Lincoln would be a headliner when he was born just hours before the 2006 New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington. Three years later to the day, and almost the hour, he annihilated his rivals on the same course in the Sires’ Stakes Final.

2. AGE NO BARRIER: In his second last race start, at the age of six, Sir Lincoln paced the fastest 1700 metres in New Zealand history, 2:00.5, beating Gold Ace and clocking a mile rate of 1:54 at Alexandra Park. Champion pacer Elsu held the previous record at 2:01.1.

3. ON THREE LEGS: Sir Lincoln ran his last race virtually on three legs, when second to Terror To Love in an Interdominion heat at Auckland. He had to be pulled out of the Melbourne series, and retired, when found to have a subluxated pastern joint - basically his ankle joint was dislocated.

4. SWIFT GOLDEN MILE: Sir Lincoln’s fastest mile was recorded in the 2012 Group III Golden Mile at Menangle in Sydney when he was nosed out by Captain Joy in 1:51.4. He was known by the name Lincoln Royal in Australia.

5. AT THE REINS: One for the trivia fans - how many drivers did Sir Lincoln have in his 57-start career? Maurice McKendry was Linc’s pilot throughout his career but he was MIA four times when the horse was handled by James Stormont, Ken Barron and Blake Fitzpatrick (twice).

6. WINNERS KEEP COMING: In only his third season with runners on the track, Sir Lincoln has already sired the winners of 30 races despite having limited numbers to represent him. Last season in New Zealand alone he had 16 winners from only 39 starters and this term he already has six winners from just 18 starters.

7. SOMEBEACH SOME RAP: Breeding buffs made a beeline for Sir Lincoln after superstar racehorse and stallion Somebeachsomewhere had to be put down with cancer. Sir Lincoln is 7/8th bred on the same cross as Somebeachsomewhere - by Mach Three out of a Beach Towel mare who is in turn out of a Cam Fella mare.

8. DISCOUNT FOR LOYALTY: Broodmare owners are returning to Sir Lincoln in droves. Taken by the attractive foals he is leaving, many book straight back to the Alabar-based sire and take advantage of Lincoln Farms’ loyalty scheme which cuts his service fee in half to just $1250 plus GST.

9. TIME BEST FRIEND: Sir Lincoln’s progeny are mirroring the sire’s own start on the racetrack, benefitting from a little time to mature. The best the horse himself could manage as a two-year-old was one third from four starts but he was a different animal at three, winning four of his first five starts.

10. MEGASTAR’S FREAK DEATH: A freak accident claimed the life of valuable broodmare Lincoln’s Megastar, a full sister to Sir Lincoln. The mare, who opened her career with a nine and a half length walloping at Auckland, was retired after six wins, but left only one foal. She was killed when crushed by a fallen tree in a violent storm. Woodlands Stud has another full sister in two-year-old Moonlighting who is in training with Ray Green.