Foujita San shows Group potential with maiden romp

Foujita San wins at Sandown
Foujita San ridden by Jye McNeil wins the The Big Screen Company Handicap at Sandown Lakeside on April 6, 2022 in Springvale, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Two-year-old colt Foujita San stamped himself as a group-class galloper with a dominant 5.75-length victory in the opening race at Sandown-Lakeside on Wednesday afternoon.

The Team Hawkes-trained galloper was sent out as a $1.26 favourite in the 2YO Handicap over 1400m under Jye McNeil and never looked like losing at any stage, despite a three-wide run in the early stages of the race.

The son of Japanese stallion Maurice was guided to the front of the field of five before the first turn, and that was all she wrote, as the colt accelerated through his gears to win by nearly six lengths.

Foujita San put the writing on the wall after an eye-catching debut runner-up performance at The Valley when going down by two-tenths of a length to unbeaten galloper Zamborghini, with that pair putting a further eight lengths on the third-placed horse, Mt Niseko, who finished fourth in today’s race.

Winning rider Jye McNeil told post-race that his mount gave him a “really nice feel”.

“I feel as though we saw the best of him on a big track,” McNeil said.

“He was going to win at Moonee Valley and he just didn’t handle the turn and they really spaced the rest of them – him and the winner.

“He definitely has come on from the run. The race experience did him well in this outing today and he gave me a really nice feel.”

Such was the dominance of Foujita San’s victory, the colt has firmed into $11 with online bookmakers for the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m), which will be run at Royal Randwick on April 16.

Nominations are yet to be released for the Champagne, and McNeil said he had not discussed any further plans with the stable or connections, with the hoop saying today was the focus.

“They haven’t really discussed anything further than today with me, they just wanted to be forward because it was a small field – he rode the speed at Moonee Valley anyway – the key was to make sure he was relaxed and in a good frame of mind,” the jockey said.

“They made me work a little bit to get into the lead, but he relaxed brilliantly once he got into that role, and he just really quickened up with ease which was the best part of it for me.”

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