Lankan Rupee has turned his recent results around with victory in the Group One Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley which had a dramatic aftermath in the stewards’ room.
Celebrations were on hold for more than three-quarters of an hour with protests from the jockeys of both placegetters over interference early in the race.
Damien Oliver (Angelic Light) and Tim Clark (Famous Seamus) came off second best in an incident 100 metres after the start but after a 45 minute hearing stewards could not be satisfied Lankan Rupee was the offender.
The world’s highest rated sprinter’s reputation was on the line on Friday and he and jockey Craig Newitt took up the challenge to lead noted front runner and last year’s winner Buffering.
Lankan Rupee was a sitting duck for the swoopers but held on with a half length separating the first eight horses across the line.
“He was like a rocket today,” Newitt said.
“I just grabbed the bit between the teeth and sent him to the front.”