Jacquinot wins CF Orr after group 1 result overturned on protest
Three-year-old Jacquinot has sensationally won his second group 1, after jockey Damian Lane successfully overturned the CF Orr Stakes result on protest, alleging interference against first-past-the-post Gentleman Roy.
Stewards took a little while to determine the result after both Lane and Jacquinot’s co-trainer Mick Price argued their horse would have won the Sandown race had Gentleman Roy – under Mark Zahra – not laid out at the 200-metre mark, squeezing Jacquinot into Nugget, who was on his outside.
Zahra played down the contact, telling stewards he didn’t knock Jacquinot off-balance, nor cause Lane to stop riding, and said even if Gentleman Roy was kept in a straight line he would have continued to hold Jacquinot by the short head margin.
Mark Zahra, riding Gentleman Roy, lost the race on protest.Credit:Getty
But stewards upheld Lane’s protest, determining that Jacquinot would have won had the interference not been caused.
“If the margin was a neck, we were no chance,” Price later said. “But that’s the thing about protests. We’re measuring the ground lost versus the margin, and that’s the decision.
“There’s no formula for the correct answer. You win some, you lose some.”
The result was devastating for the connections of Gentleman Roy – trained by Ben and JD Hayes – who ran fourth in the Toorak Handicap in the spring and is yet to claim a group 1 race.
Race favourite I’m Thunderstruck finished fourth, with jockey Jamie Kah reporting the superstar peaked on his run.
“He was probably a bit heavier than we thought he was,” Kah said. “He was having a good blow, and he just felt like he needed it today.”
Both he and Jacquinot appear likely to race next in the group 1 Futurity Stakes, again over 1400m at Sandown, while a number of these horses are likely to clash again in next month’s All-Star Mile.
Jacquinot. Credit:Racing Photos
Earlier, Blue Diamond Prelude favourite Charm Stone was well beaten, with Zahra reporting the filly may have had a throat issue.
The race was won by Godolphin filly Exploring, who stamped her credentials for the group 1 feature in a fortnight’s time, albeit she’s no guarantee to head to that race.
The Blue Army also won the Prelude for the colts and geldings, won by Barber, who will definitely race in the Blue Diamond next start.
“He’s been the first seed for the team for quite some time after his first preparation, and he carried that pressure from the performances that we’d seen on race days through to this preparation,” Godolphin representative Sean Keogh said.
In the group 2 Rubiton Stakes, Lofty Strike unleashed a powerful finish to run over the top of his rivals, earning the right to run in the group 1 Oakleigh Plate in two weeks’ time.
Trainer Julius Sandhu was overjoyed by the victory.
Lofty Strike, ridden by Craig Newitt, returns to the mounting yard. Credit:Racing Photos
“It’s really hard to put into words. We didn’t plan this race out. We thought the Oakleigh Plate would be our kick-off,” Sandhu said.
“We went to that jump out two weeks ago, and he surprised me enormously the way he went and the way he pulled up.
“‘Froggy’ [Craig Newitt] got off and said this boy is serious. He came here and galloped on Tuesday and pretty much put himself in the race.”
Sandhu said he was feeling for Lofty Strike’s regular jockey Jamie Mott, however, who missed out on the ride as he would have been unable to ride at the horse’s light weight in the Oakleigh Plate.
Later, Peter Moody’s four-year-old Pounding won his third straight race, claiming the 1600m Carlyon Cup under Kah, while Rich Fortune won the group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes.
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