Smart two-year-old colt Eminent had to survive a protest at Doomben before remaining on course for a Sydney autumn campaign.
Eminent ($4.20) responded to a clever ride by jockey Michael Cahill to beat Capital Gain ($5) by a short neck in the QTIS Two Year Old (1350m).
However, apprentice Matt McGillivray, who rode Capital Gain, literally picked himself up off the track to lodge a protest alleging interference in the final 200m.
McGillivray was tipped off Capital Gain past the line when the gelding spooked at the outside fence.
He alleged Cahill took his running in the final 200m which cost him at least a length.
But Cahill responded Eminent had a soft win and Capital Gain had caused much of his own problems.
“I don’t think Capital Gain ever had purchase on the run McGillivray was going for,” Cahill said.
Stewards agreed and quickly dismissed the protest.
Trainer David Vandyke has a big opinion of Eminent and is considering sending him to Sydney for the Fernhill Stakes and Group One Champagne Stakes late in the Sydney autumn.
“I think you will see an even better horse once we put blinkers on him. He is very promising,” Vandyke said.
Vandyke said he wanted to see how Eminent pulled up before mapping out a final program for him.
Cahill agreed that Eminent had a lot of potential as he had eased him down in the final 100m.
“It was a soft win and I think he has a heap of promise,” Cahill said.
Capital Gain’s trainer Paul Butterworth said he would send the gelding for a break and head to the Group One J J Atkins Stakes in the winter.