Highly rated European import Sea Moon was first across the line in the Listed Bart Cummings (2520m) but Mike Moroney-trained Araldo was awarded the race after a protest was upheld by the stewards.
Sea Moon scored a narrow victory over Araldo and Gotta Take Care in a photo finish but Glen Boss, on board Araldo, lodged a protest; arguing that Sea Moon drifted in and unbalanced his mount in the final stages of the race.
“From the 200 metre mark to the 100 I was holding him when there was no pressure until the 100 metre mark when the pressure was applied,” Boss said in the stewards’ room.
“I dare say, without looking at the film, that I don’t think Brett (Prebble) stopped to straighten his mount, which he is entitled to do because he was uncrossing on my line.
“There was contact virtually from the last 100 metres there and that has cost me more than the nose I was beaten because I was holding the margin before the contact was made.”
Jockey Brett Prebble was the only representative from Team Williams in the stewards’ room and argued that Sea Moon always had Araldo covered in the concluding stages of the race.
“Racing down towards the 100 my horse didn’t want to get in and I couldn’t use the whip on him because I raced up close next to Glen,” Prebble said.
“I always had Glen covered and Glen’s horse had his chance; there was 100 metres left and I was carrying top weight and I was always going to beat him to the line even though I did get close to him.”
Racing Victoria Stewards spent a great deal of time deliberating before announcing that the protest would be upheld; ruling that the interference suffered by Araldo in the final five strides was the difference between the two horses at the winning post.
The decision may have a major effect of the remainder of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival as Sea Moon will now miss out on a run in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) after failing to past the first ballot requirement for the $2.5 million event.
The win was Araldo’s first in Australia after he finished 15th in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on August 31 and 3rd in the Listed Penang Trophy (1800m) at Morphettville a fortnight ago.