The career of Declares War has turned full circle with the gelding breaking through for his original trainer Matt Cumani at Flemington.
Cumani purchased Declares War as a yearling at the Magic Millions Gold Coast sale but lost the now three-year-old to Darren Weir before he had raced.
With the disqualification of Weir in February, Declares War returned to Cumani’s care and on Saturday scored his first win for his purchaser in The Mahogany Challenge (2000m).
Ridden by Jye McNeil, Declares War ($6) scored a short-neck win from Igniter ($19) with Not A Single Cent ($11) 3-1/4 lengths away third.
“It’s lovely to have him back in the stable and performing finally,” Cumani said.
“We couldn’t sell him and the owner had to find another trainer and Weiry kindly helped him out by taking 25 per cent of the horse.
“As fate happens, he’s come back to us.”
Declares War was having his fifth start for Cumani on Saturday and holds a nomination for the Group One Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm on June 8.
But Cumani favours sending Declares War for a break after having his second start as a gelding.
At his first three starts for Cumani, Declares War contested Group Two races with a best performance being a fifth-placed finish in the Autumn Classic at Caulfield.
Cumani said he questioned whether Declares War struggled at a distance or whether he was up to that grade before his gelding operation.
“Darren always thought he was a stayer and that’s why the Derby was in mind,” Cumani said.
“I was a bit dubious after his first few starts this prep, but that was a pretty solid effort today.
“We’ll have a chat to the group but I think he’ll have a bit of a break after this and bring him up in the spring as he took his gelding pretty hard.
“He gets a bit nervous pre-race now, which he didn’t do before.
“We have to bare in mind this is probably a grade down on what he was challenging earlier in his prep but I think he’ll improve into next year after a spell.”