Big test ahead for impressive winner


Impressive Ballarat winner General James will face his toughest test in his short career when he steps into Group class at his next race start.

Trainer Danny O'Brien has indicated that the Savabeel gelding will tackle the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday, March 20 following his strong 1600m win at Ballarat yesterday.

"I was quite pleased he was able to beat the older horses so strongly yesterday and he does need to step up to 2000m for his next start, so while he is in form, we will get a great guide as to where he is at against his own age group," O'Brien said.

The three-year-old had blinkers on for the first time in the Ballarat race and they enabled him to bounce back to form following an inclusive run first-up at Sandown.

"The blinkers did the trick yesterday, but the most pleasing aspect was the way he relaxed in them in the run as he will need to do that when he races over further. I was also thrilled with the strong turn of foot he showed to put the race away."

O'Brien expects to see the best of the emerging prospect as he steps out in distance.

"He has won two and finished second in his four career starts, and he hasn't raced beyond a mile yet, which is great as I feel he will be better over 2000m or further."

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