Talented but wayward newcomer Marseille Roulette has survived a protest to win the lucrative Inglis Classic at Rosehill on Saturday.
The colt’s outward shift inside the 100m mark gave James McDonald on runner-up Fuerza cause to lodge an objection against Tommy Berry but stewards said the two-length rule came into play.
McDonald said he was forced to switch to the inside and the colt lost his momentum.
While agreeing Marseille Roulette had shifted, chief steward Ray Murrihy said he was the required two lengths clear and McDonald’s enforced change of direction was something that happened in many races.
“It is clear the horse has shifted but it is two lengths clear,” Murrihy said.
“It is the sort of thing that happens in racing all the time.
“We cannot agree there are grounds to uphold a protest. The horse is well clear.”
The margin between the pair was a half head.
The protest took the attention away from the great job the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner had done to get across from the outside barrier and take up the lead in the $250,000 Classic (1200m).
Punters sent him out at $8 with the Bjorn Baker-trained Fuerza the $3.10 favourite.
Melbourne visitor Direct Charge ($6.50) tracked Marseille Roulette for most of the race and held on for third, two lengths behind Fuerza.
The race was restricted to graduates of the 2012 Classic sale with Direct Charge, a $105,000 yearling, the most expensive youngster in the race.
A $62,000 yearling, Marseille Roulette was bought by Japanese businessman Tomohiro Sekiguchi who approached Waterhouse to train the colt.
Marseille Roulette scored a narrow win in a barrier trial earlier this month in which Waterhouse believed he hadn’t tried quite hard enough.
“We have worked very hard on him since,” she said.
“I didn’t think the trial was good enough to win.”
Berry said although the colt had shifted out due to inexperience, his talent shone through.
“After all the work he did, he was whinnying past the post,” Berry said.
This year’s two-day Classic sale begins in Sydney on Sunday.