Trainer John O’Shea believes that Generalife may be good enough to compete at the highest level of racing during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival after the progressive gelding scored his maiden win at black type level in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Generalife was settled in the middle of the Civic Stakes field by jockey Sam Clipperton in the early stages of the race and he tracked into the race beautifully before cruising up to the lead at the 300 metre mark.
The Lonhro gelding raced away from the rest of the field when asked for an extra effort and he scored an impressive victory from consistent mare Bennetta and a fast-finishing He’s Your Man.
O’Shea said after the race that he was delighted with the performance of Generalife and was quick to pay credit to the ride of Clipperton – a jockey that he believes will be a key part of the Darley team for many years to come.
“James (McDonald) has been riding him in his trackwork, but this kids needs a mention,” O’Shea said after the race.
“He’s been riding for us a bit lately, he gives them every possible chance and I’m really, really rapt for him.
“I think he’s going to be an integral part of our operation in the future.”
The victory was Clipperton’s second in a feature race for Darley, after he steered Cameo to victory in the Listed Scone Cup earlier this year and the rising hoop is thrilled with the opportunities that he has been given by the Darley operation in recent months.
“It’s great to be given opportunities especially with Darley in races like this,” Clipperton said.
“I’m very appreciative and I hope it can continue.
“This horse relaxed beautifully today and always travelled well.
“He should get plenty of confidence out of that and there could be Group races in his future.”
O’Shea is yet to decide on a 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Generalife, but Darley Racing Manager Jason Walsh told TVN after the race that he believes the rising five-year-old could be a contender at Group level.
“That’s his third win in Saturday grade this prep,” Walsh said.
“It has just been a matter of him getting his confidence back and now he is racing so well.
“He may just be putting his hand up for a spring feature.”