Lankan Rupee has come out on top in drama filled Manikato Stakes and broken his Moonee Valley hoodoo in the process.
In a blanket finish, eight horses were within three-quarters of a length of Lankan Rupee at the end of Friday night’s 1200m contest.
Bursting from the pack, Craig Newitt sent Lankan Rupee ($3.90 fav) to the lead before kicking clear on the home turn and holding on to record a short head win over Angelic Light ($13) with Famous Seamus ($18) a nose back in third place.
But the action wasn’t finished and it headed to the stewards room as a dual protest was fired in against Lankan Rupee with Damien Oliver on Angelic Light and Tim Clark aboard Famous Seamus alleging interference in the first 100m of the race.
After 45 minutes the protests were eventually dismissed with stewards not comfortable Lankan Rupee was fully responsible for the interference incurred.
The reprimanded Newitt and Tegan Harrison, the rider of the unplaced Temple Of Boom.
Winning trainer Mick Price said it was a gutsy ride by Newitt to come across and lead Buffering, who beat him in the Moir Stakes, and Not Listenin’tome.
“I’m very relieved,” Price said.
“That was a gutsy ride and gutsy decision to cross Buffering.
“I had my heart in my mouth and was looking for the post.
“That was in the discussion but it was plan B.”
Price said it was pleasing to see Lankan Rupee get an easy 400m midrace section after he had to work to cross.
He also said the gelding, who had been beaten twice at the Valley this campaign, would derive benefit for his next target, the Darley Classic at Flemington on November 8.
“He’s had a messy four weeks and every time we had to attend to his foot we had to give him a day off,” said Price.
“He’s a gutsy horse, it was a gutsy ride and I’m very relieved that he fell over the line.”
Newitt said Lankan Rupee showed all the courage he had to fight off the chasing pack after looking beaten at various stages in the straight.
“He’s the only horse in Australia who could have done what he’s done tonight,” Newitt said.
“I had to burn at both ends and he was out on his feet in the last 50 (metres).
“He was there to be beaten but then to find, it shows what a courageous horse he is.”