Celebrity Girl’s unbeaten record was tarnished when she was relegated after crossing the line in a dead heat for first in the Thousand Guineas Prelude at Caulfield.
The judge couldn’t separate the Mark Kavanagh-trained filly and West Australian three-year-old Bliss Street but the stewards did after an objection from Danny Nikolic on fourth placed Mosheen.
Four horses crossed the line within centimetres of each other with official margins of a dead heat, a half head and a nose.
Celebrity Girl, ridden by Michael Rodd may have won clearly had she gone straight but instead she shifted out abruptly near the 100 metres and took the running of the fast finishing Mosheen.
While both Nikolic and Rodd didn’t stop riding their mounts it took stewards little time to uphold the protest and amend the placings.
After less than two minutes of deliberation, Bliss Street was awarded the race outright from Hallowell Belle and Mosheen. Celebrity Girl was relegated to fourth.
Bliss Street’s trainer Daniel Morton would have been happy to take the dead-heat.
“I’m pretty impressed with that,” Morton said.
He said Bliss Street, who has won four of her eight starts, needed the run when sixth to Atlantic Jewel at Flemington two weeks ago and he again didn’t have any lofty expectations on Saturday.
“I had in the back of my mind that if we ran two or three lengths off them today I would be happy moving forward to a mile, so I couldn’t be happier,” Morton said.
Kavanagh, who argued that Celebrity Girl didn’t make contact with Mosheen, was poker faced after stewards upheld the protest.
He said Celebrity Girl had not done a lot of racing but would learn with experience.
“She’s gone a little early and she star gazed, but she had a fair dinkum blow after the race so there is plenty of improvement in her,” Kavanagh said.
He is planning to have Celebrity Girl and Atlantic Jewel, who runs next Saturday, contesting the Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12.
“We are around the mark and I have no complaints about that run,” Kavanagh said.
Trainer Peter Moody lamented the defeat of Hallowell Belle who had trouble getting a clear run in the straight.
“She is going well and just needed that bit of luck,” Moody said.