Talented three-year-old Warmonger (War Decree) scored a game victory in the TAB Trophy (Listed, 1800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day for trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr.
The New Zealand import sports the colours of OTI Racing who purchased the youngster after a dominant 800-metre barrier trial victory at Ashburton in April for original trainers Shane Kennedy and Anna Furlong.
The progressive gelding has now won two of his three starts for his new connections and showed a superior turn of foot yesterday, coming from back in the field off a sedate tempo to narrowly land the spoils from a game Queen Of Dragons (Pierro).
Co-trainer Kent Jnr was delighted to get a good winner for syndication giants OTI Racing on a feature day.
“We love OTI. We’ve got a big team for them and a win on Cup day is worth times ten,” he said.
“It was a very good win by the horse. I thought Blake [Shinn on Natural Deduction] tried to steal it. They were going 13 to the furlong and he nicked away in the straight.”
Kent Jnr said Warmonger had improved a lot since his last-start victory.
“When he won at Mornington, he spotted them two lengths at the furlong and won by three. He had a very wooly coat and since the run he’s come out of it and his coat bloomed, his work improved, and he has been a horse on the up,” he said.
“We thought the big track at Flemington and rise in distance would suit, and it did.
“He’s a typical Kiwi horse who improves with time. I’m not sure what his best distance is yet. His sister was placed in a Guineas in New Zealand.”
The trainers will now ponder a start in the $175,000 Cranbourne 3YO Stayers Classic (2025m) on their home-track on November 25, or freshening the youngster for the Sandown Guineas (Gr 2, 1600m) on December 2 at Caulfield.
Winning jockey Damian Lane was impressed with the victory as Warmonger triumphed in spite of the slowly-run race.
“When the speed came out of the race, he got his head up and it got a bit awkward and it took me a little bit to find a rhythm. Then we took off a long way from home and he was chasing,” Lane said.
“It was all a little bit the wrong-way around but we got there in the end and he pleasantly surprised me. I thought he won a moderate race at Mornington last start and I was hoping more than expecting that he would step up to this level. He has acquitted himself well.”
The black-type victory is another fillip for the exploits of young War Front stallion War Decree, who stands at Gus and Bianca Wigley’s Inglewood Stud.