Paul O’Sullivan’s General Of Patch helped Zac Purton to come away with a double after a gutsy mile win under top weight that showed the four-year-old may be bound for bigger things.
General Of Patch won for the fourth time this season yesterday, the four-year-old carting 133 pounds against a strong Class Three field after sitting three wide facing the breeze from gate 13.
“He is only a young horse, but he is doing everything right so far,” Purton said. “That was a tough win and he still feels like he is maturing and getting a little bit stronger, so let’s see how high he can go next season.”
Not only did General Of Patch have to sit wide, but he was exposed early when Club Life was put into the contest by Opie Bosson before the turn, forcing Purton’s hand as he set sail for the line from way out.
“I couldn’t get in, so I had to bite the bullet and let him travel out wide and hope the brakes went on mid-race – sometimes that means you can sneak forward,” Purton said, getting his wish when leading pair High Volatility and Super Form eased off the speed approaching the turn. “But when Club Life came around us with around 500 metres to go, that meant we had to go a lot earlier than we wanted. He was in front a long way out and was basically out on his feet with 100m to go, and most horses would have caved in, but the fact he didn’t was a great sign – he had to show a lot of heart to hang in there.”
Purton’s previous winner came on recent stable transfer Fashion Maestro, the five-year-old arriving at Francis Lui Kin-wai yard by way of Gary Ng Ting-keung with a zero from 12 local record and an even more damning veterinary record that included a stint of 12 months on the sidelines due to a suspensory strain.
Still, the New Zealand import had shown enough recently to be sent out at single figures at his last three starts and won convincingly enough to suggest a Class Three result won’t be a stretch.
“It was another good tough win from a wide gate,” Purton said. “I was able to get some cover around the corner which helped me. Francis has done a great job with him since he took him over and he really ran through the line today.”