Consistent sprinter Generalife has earned his chance to step up to Group One company with a hard-fought win in the Star Kingdom Stakes.
The Godolphin five-year-old got the nod in a photo-finish to Saturday’s 1200m Group Three race at Rosehill, with trainer John O’Shea crediting his big head as a factor.
O’Shea said Brisbane’s premier race, the Stradbroke Handicap in June, was now a target for the son of Lonhro.
Sent out the $3.40 favourite, Generalife staved off Target In Sight ($4) by a nose with a short neck to Hot Snitzel ($9).
“He’s always been slow out of the gates. He’s a big horse and it can take him a while to find his momentum,” O’Shea said.
“Target In Sight is an outstanding horse, but Generalife has a big boofhead on him and that might have helped him in the photo.
“We’ve always had the Stradbroke in mind and we will work out the best way to get him there.”
While disappointed Target In Sight didn’t win, trainer Joe Pride was nevertheless pleased to see him run well.
“It was just a bob of the head. It’s one of those things,” he said.
Helping ease his pain was the fine effort from veteran Rain Affair ($26), which held on for fourth after taking up his customary frontrunning role.
“I’m very pleased with him,” Pride said.
“Three horses got past him and he fought back.”
Fellow trainer Gerald Ryan was also happy with the performance of Hot Snitzel, which has run in the race three times for a win in 2013, second last year and third on Saturday.