Simpson happy with Nightofthegeneral
Ross Simpson has no doubt Nightofthegeneral has the ability to win Saturday’s Listed June Stakes at Randwick but is concerned the gelding might still be a run short of his best.
Nightofthegeneral finished third in the Randwick’s 150th Anniversary Handicap (1100m) on May 29 but was left in the wake of impressive three-year-old Love Conquers All who raced to a 5-1/2-length victory on a heavy track.
The John, Wayne and Michael Hawkes-trained colt is also among nominations for the June Stakes (1100m).
Simpson, who co-trains Nightofthegeneral with Tracey Barnes at Warwick Farm, said the sprinter went into the race at Randwick, his first start in eight weeks, with plenty of improvement left in him.
“The horse is a class act and up to this race in my opinion,” Simpson said.
“His work has been good and he’s never let me down since we got him.
“I’d just love to get the horse 100 per cent fit. The only time I’ve had him close to his peak was at Canterbury at the end of last preparation and he won with 59.5 kilos.”
Nightofthegeneral has only had seven starts for three wins and has never finished out of a place.
Simpson said while pleased with the lightly-raced sprinter’s third at Randwick on May 29, he had expected the four-year-old to take greater benefit out of that race into the June Stakes.
“He’s still a bit big in condition, he didn’t strip as much off as I’d hoped in his first-up run,” Simpson said.
“He was tardy away which is unusual for him but I still thought his run was good on a track that was bottomless.”
The trainer also took heart from Nightofthegeneral being able to peg back some ground from runner-up Pinwheel over the concluding stages.
“At one stage he had the best part of a length on us but he got it back to half a neck. The horse does fight under pressure,” he said.
Nightofthegeneralwill carry the limit weight of 53kg with Love Conquers All getting half a kilogram above the minimum, 53.5kg.
Pinwheel has been given 55kg while Pinwheel’s stablemate Posadas was given topweight of 58.5kg.
Simpson said it was crucial for Nightofthegeneral to begin better than he did at Randwick if he is to be a chance of claiming a first stakes victory on Saturday.
“I said going into his last start that he would need a soft run and he didn’t get a soft run,” the trainer said.
By Matthew Toogood