The Steve Wolfe-trained War Jeune earned bragging rights for Albany when he held on for an exciting victory in the Skyracing.TV-Provincial Championship Series Final (1400m) at Belmont’s season-opening meeting on Saturday.
War Jeune, ridden by Shaun McGruddy, shot to the lead on jumping and although he was out on his feet, the $2.90 favourite held on grimly to defeat Le Patron by a short half-head with Rikki Tikki Tavi a further half-head away third.
“He is a really nice type and we have given him a lot of time,” Wolfe said.
“He looks the real deal and I’m sure as he gets older he will get further.
“When he gets to a mile he will lead and win easy.”
War Jeune’s victory, his fourth from 11 starts, completed a double for Wolfe, who won earlier on the programme with Minus Looks.
Meanwhile exciting filly Art Series extended her winning sequence to three after she put paid to her rivals with ease in the Tabtouch Plate (1300m).
Ridden by William Pike, Art Series sat outside of the leader and sprinted sharply over the final 200m to account for Rubia Miss by 1 ½ lengths.
Pike said there was further improvement to come from the daughter of Sebring.
“She is a bit more user-friendly manners wise and is learning what to do very well,” Pike said.
“All I can say is that she has more gears to go.”
Pike book-ended the meeting when he booted home promising four-year-old State Solicitor in the D’Orsogna Handicap (1200m).
The son of Nicconi reasserted his superiority and atoned after suffering a first up loss two weeks ago when starting a hot favourite.
The Grant and Alana Williams-trained gelding charged home from fifth on the corner and cleared away to defeat War God by 1 ½ lengths.
With seven wins from 10 starts, State Solicitor, boosted his prizemoney to $230,800 and continued his perfect second up record.
“There are big expectations on him and it’s a relief to win,” said managing-owner, Bob Peters.
“He needs a break and will now go to the paddock.”