The military rank of General can only be achieved by producing a long, successful and distinguished career, so when Kevin and Tanith O’Brien of Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm decided to call their home-breed son of Brief Truce – General Truce, they unknowingly chose a very fitting name.
Retained by the O’Brien’s’ after the horse was not accepted for auction by the sales companies as a yearling, General Truce made a winning debut as a 2yo in a Bendigo maiden back in October 2009 and at his following start, would have had the sale companies regretting their decision even further when he took out the G3 Maribyrnong Plate.
Four seasons on, a further seven wins – three of them at stakes level, and with placings behind Black Caviar, Happy Trials, Soul and Buffering on his record, the rising 7yo is still performing at the top level and commenced his latest campaign with this weekend’s G1 Oakleigh Plate, firmly in his sights.
“We had mapped his preparation all out and this (Oakleigh Plate) was the target race. He’s performed really well in his first two races this preparation so he comes into this race in really good order” confirmed Lauriston’s Operations Manager James O’Brien.
The two runs this preparation consists of a win first up in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000M) before leading all bar the final stride when finishing a nose second to Shamal Wind in the W. J. Adam Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield three weeks ago.
“I actually think his last start, even though he came second, was perhaps his career best race.”
“He carried 60kgs and he is only a small horse. With 55kgs on his back Saturday, he won’t know himself. Of course, gate sixteen is pretty disappointing.”
As was the case when he contested the 2011 Oakleigh Plate as a 3yo, the barrier draw hasn’t been kind to General Truce and connections.
He jumped from gate seventeen in ’11 but produced one of the fastest closing sectionals of the race in finishing eighth, beaten only three lengths behind Eagle Falls.
“It (the barrier) is pretty disappointing and it will make it tougher for him, but obviously there is plenty of pace drawn underneath us and hopefully Andrew (Mallyon) can find a spot for us”.
If any jockey could find the right way home for General Truce, it is likely to be Andrew Mallyon.
Mallyon rode the horse at his first five starts and almost four years later, was reunited with him at the beginning of this preparation. Recent results have taken their partnership record to seven starts for three wins and two seconds.
What has kept General Truce racing consistently all this time? Well, there’s no secret according to O’Brien; they’ve just kept the horse happy.
“Ricky’s (trainer Ricky Maund) stable environment is pretty relaxed. He’s got the beach that’s the first thing, so there’s a lot of beach work. It’s not like an intense city stable environment.”
“He’s also a very good ‘do-er’ and when he does spell, he spells tremendously well. He spells at our farm and in fact, on the odd occasion Ricky’s been a bit critical that he’s come back too gross.”
The O’Brien’s well renowned orange and green colours have been carried by some smart performers over the years, including G1 winners Gold Edition and Ice Chariot but, one horse they’d dearly love to see win at in them at the elite level would be General Truce or “Ollie” as he is referred to by those that know him best.
“Everyone around him just really adores him. He is definitely one of the favourites.”
article by Scott Gooley aap