Although having to wait until the second last race of the day on Tuesday at the Geelong Turf Club, it was great to see BLUE SKY BLOODSTOCK’s New Zealand Bloodstock yearling purchase GENERAL JAMES record his fourth win.
Starting the race favourite in the Roderick Insurances Brokers Benchmark 70 after a pleasing third the start prior, the Danny O’Brien-trained General James jumped from the outside barrier in the nine horse field.
Jockey Craig Newitt pushed forward to try and obtain a position, but as the first bend was reached he found himself extremely wide and therefore dropped back to settle in fifth position, but still racing wide without any cover.
When the pace started to slacken slightly, Newitt allowed General James to slide forward where he found himself sitting outside of the race leader and second favourite Sammy The Snake to be well within striking range.
As Macrobius came from a mid-field position and took up the challenge with the race leader, General James appeared to be left slightly flat footed while the front two charged a few lengths clear.
Craig Newitt urged General James along before the son of Savabeel really picked up and showed some great fighting qualities, reeling in the race leader before pulling away for an impressive length and a quarter victory over the 1900m.
Trainer Danny O'Brien was suitably impressed by the winning performance.
"I love this breed of horse. They are tough, strong and just get better with age," O'Brien said.
"General James' win today was excellent as he did at both ends of the race and he was still stronger than any of his rivals on the line, which bodes well for his next few races."
"I would expect that he will contest another heat at Pakenham on July 17 over 2200m and then proceed to the final a fortnight after that all going well," O'Brien said.
Recording his fourth win from 19 starts, with a further four placings for his large group of owners; Lucky Stew Racing, Mrs L F Ashton, Mr S Wilson, Mr B K Cameron, Mr A W Bruhn, Mr S D J Daniels, Cazjohn Racing, Mr S J Giles, Mr W Wilson, Mr W Wessels, Mr C J Meadmore, Mr W K Thomas, Mr J Steenhuisen, Mr H W O'meara, Yarra Racing, Ms V J Thomas, Mr C Harrington, Mr L Crapper, Mr M D Young and Mr M T Fitzpatrick, General James was secured from the draft Waikato Stud at the 2013 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale by Blue Sky Bloodstock and Danny O'Brien Racing.
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