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Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Stewards uphold second versus first protest in Mornington Guineas

The three-year-old feature on Saturday’s Mornington Cup Day program, the $150,000 Mornington Guineas (1600m), was decided in the stewards’ room after objection from champion jockey Damien Oliver was upheld.

Oliver was second over the line aboard Jungle Magnate, who finished a short-head shy of Sharp Response.

But Oliver protested against Sharp Response and his rider Beau Mertens, who accidentally struck Jungle Magnate over the nose with his whip on a couple of occasions in the home straight.

Oliver also alleged interference from Sharp Response shifting out around 75m from the line.

In delivering the summary of the stewards’ decision, steward Brett Wright said it was the second incident that prompted them to overturn the result.

“We acknowledge at about the 150-metre mark your mount was struck across the nose by the whip of Beau Mertens on Sharp Response, the horse clearly reacts to that, albeit we don’t think there is too much ground lost at the particular point,” Wright said to Oliver.

“On the second occasion, at the 100 metres, your horse does react to that whip being struck across the nose, it does lose its momentum and you are slightly taken off your running there.

“Bearing in mind how the horses finish the race off, we believe that had that interference not occurred that Jungle Magnate would have finished ahead of Sharp Response at the end of the race, therefore the objection is upheld.”

The Guineas was the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained Jungle Magnate’s first start since finishing 10th in the Victoria Derby, which followed a third placing in the Moonee Valley Vase, and Oliver said the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) could be a good target race this campaign.

“It’s my first time on him, but the way he finished the race off today he’s in for a good campaign,” Oliver said.

“I don’t know if, or how much he’s matured from last campaign, because I haven’t got anything to measure it up against, but he really pleased me with the way he hit the line.

“The South Australian Derby could be a good goal to aim for.”

 
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