Lightly raced gelding Firsthand has continued an unbeaten start to his career by the barest of margins at Moonee Valley.
But before he was declared the winner he had to survive a protest from jockey Daniel Stackhouse, who rode third placegetter Bassett in Saturday’s Kane Constructions Handicap (1200m).
Stewards were quick to dismiss the objection.
Firsthand was having his second start after a debut win at Wyong in February and the talented three-year-old provided Melbourne premiership-leading jockey Dwayne Dunn with his second win for the day after winning on Firsthand’s stablemate Longeron earlier in the day.
Sent out the well-supported $2.70 favourite, Firsthand raced in the lead and held on late to deny Prince Of Brooklyn by a nose.
Prince Of Brooklyn charged home from back in the field in his first start since last spring.
Bassett finished another 2-1/2 lengths away but Stackhouse protested against the winner alleging interference in the straight.
Stackhouse argued he got up along the inside of Dunn in the straight and felt he was “going to go straight past him” but was forced to check and lose his momentum.
While stewards acknowledged Stackhouse suffered interference, they said the problem was the margin was too great and told the rider they even tossed around whether the protest had been frivolous.
Firsthand’s part-owners include co-trainer Michael Hawkes’ wife Claire and Sydney-based jockey Tommy Berry’s wife Sharnee.
Wayne Hawkes, who trains the gelding in partnership with his father John and brother Michael, says Firsthand is a horse on the way up and believed the performance had plenty of merit given he led and had pressure on his outside.
“He’s a horse going somewhere,” Hawkes said.
“But he’s still a baby, it’s off-season and let’s not get carried away.
Hawkes said Firsthand was likely to have a couple of starts which could help boost his rating before being given another break.
“Really he’s 12 months away,” Hawkes said.
Apprentice Ben Thompson was thrilled with the performance of Prince Of Brooklyn.
“He went brilliantly first-up,” Thompson said.