Vega Magic reasserted his dominance when he bounced back to win the Racing Hall Of Fame Arthur Ward Handicap (1200m) at Belmont on Saturday.
But trainer Sean Casey and the gelding’s owners had to delay their victory celebrations and survive a protest from runner, up, Brisanto.
Vega Magic, who started an even money favourite, fought his way to the lead from front-runner, Jestajingle, and held out, Brisanto, to win by a neck with Presentatie third.
After a short deliberation stewards dismissed jockey, Lucy Warwick’s, objection-alleging interference from Vega Magic in the last 200m.
Vega Magic turned the tables on Brisanto, who beat him home by a neck margin when they clashed at Belmont two weeks ago.
It was Vega Magic’s first run back after he underlined his potential with a hat trick of wins at Ascot last campaign.
Casey said Vega Magic, who improved his record to four wins and three placings from seven starts, continues to display promising signs.
“I think the horse showed he is looking for a mile and more ground,” Casey said.
“In his earlier races he was winning uncontested and getting it all his own way.
“He is showing to me he could be a horse who can go ahead and keep going.”
Brisanto lost no admirers in defeat and former New Zealand filly, Presentatie, ran an improved race second up, for trainer, Grant Williams.
River Dance, an impressive Pinjarra maiden winner two starts back, failed to make any impression when last in the field of eight.
Meanwhile, Military Reign’s, bid for victory almost came unstuck at the start when she dipped badly, but the Universals Ruler filly recovered to take out the Racing Hall Of Fame Inductee Eurythmic Handicap (1000m).
The three-year-old completed back-to-back wins when she led throughout for jockey, William Pike, defeating, Secret Nova, by 1-¾ lengths with Zuccheros close behind filling third placing.
“I thought it was all over at the start and was surprised Willie (Pike) stayed on so it tells you how talented she is, trainer, Darren McAuliffe said.
“She took control of the race and they were off the bridle chasing her from a long way.
“She has a lovely high cruising speed and turn of foot.
“I was confident of a win and my only concern was the seven day back up.”