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McNeil hopes experience pays off with War

Jockey Jye McNeil hopes having had a previous ride aboard Declares War will serve him well when they reunite at Flemington.

McNeil will be legged aboard topweight Declares War in Saturday's Mahogany Challenge (2000m).

The Mahogany Challenge is a seven-race series exclusive to three-year-olds and will culminate in a 2500m-final at Flemington on July 6.

Declares War won at Flemington in December for now disqualified trainer Darren Weir before moving to Matt Cumani for his current campaign.

McNeil partnered Declares War when the gelding was seventh behind dead-heaters Nordic Symphony and Orcein over 1710m at Flemington on April 25.

In a cluttered field up the Flemington straight, Declares War did not get a lot of clear galloping room at a crucial stage before hitting the line strongly late.

"I feel as thought he's definitely a horse you'd benefit from having ridden before," McNeil said.

"I was going to try and be a bit closer on him last start but he was very lethargic coming out of the gates and then the horse had traffic issues.

"Hopefully on Saturday he can bounce and run well."

McNeil said Declares War was not alone in being unlucky last time.

The Chris Waller-trained Zalatte finished behind Declares War before heading to Adelaide for a midfield finish in the Australasian Oaks.

"There were a few in the same situation as me in that race," McNeil said.

"I definitely do think that if I had clear running in the straight he would have finished closer.

"I've got no doubt the way he was finishing off the step up to 2000 metres won't worry him."