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    Rising star lucky to be alive after rare parasite infection Rising star lucky to be alive after rare parasite infection

    GENERAL DODGE - Photo HRV

    GIVEN what he has endured in recent months Friday night’s difficult task should be a walk in the park by comparison. Engaged in the... Rising star lucky to be alive after rare parasite infection

    GIVEN what he has endured in recent months Friday night’s difficult task should be a walk in the park by comparison.

    Engaged in the Ararat Cup, General Dodge faces a tough assignment after drawing the back row against a strong field in what will be his second start from a long break.

    General Dodge made a triumphant racing return a fortnight ago after being sidelined for 20 months, including spending time on “death’s door”.

    “He is lucky to be alive let alone racing,” trainer Michael Chircop said. “He got really crook on us and tests weren’t showing what was wrong.

    “In the end we discovered he had a parasite known as liver fluke, which is common in cattle and sheep but rare in horses.

    “It comes from a snail along a riverbed or side of a dam.

    “It’s very hard to diagnose and tests kept saying he is wormy but the third test revealed what it was and we were lucky to find it.

    “He was at death’s door for a while and is lucky to be alive to be honest.”

    Having nursed the Australian Pacing Gold purchase back to health, Chircop hopes General Dodge can reach the heights he promised before illness struck.

    The son of Courage Under Fire won 11 of his 15 starts before being sent for a spell.

    “I was more than happy with his first run back,” Chricop said. “The main thing is he came through the run well and has thrived since.

    “I couldn’t ask him to be in better shape at this stage.

    “Ararat is going to be difficult from the draw on that track, but he is ready to go.

    “I will give him a couple more starts after this but he won’t be up for much longer as he has been in work for quite a while.”

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    Paul Courts

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