MONBAHER lands the Banjo Patterson Final for Cumani
Ballarat-based trainer Matt Cumani collected his second Banjo Paterson Series Final via the stewards' room when Monbaher was awarded victory over first-past-the-post Mimi's Award at Flemington on Saturday.
The 2600-metre staying feature of the Victoria Racing Club's Winter Finals Raceday saw Mimi's Award ($9) settle behind the leader in a stop-start race, with Monbaher ($5) tracking him to the home turn.
When Brett Prebble switched Monbaher over heels to make his challenge at the top of the straight, Mimi's Award - under Blaike McDougall - shifted away from the inside rail and held a half-head advantage at the finish.
After slapping McDougall on the back a few strides past the line, Prebble lodged an objection based on the advice of Monbaher's owner.
In overturning the result, stewards believed Mimi's Award shifted the width of seven horses from the 300 metres to 50-metre mark.
"I actually didn't feel it (interference) out there and the owner said to me, 'Are you going to protest'? He (Mimi's Award) didn't touch me really as such, but he just kept taking me off my course," Prebble said.
"We've got the luxury of having a look at the video before you put a protest in now and as soon as I seen it, it was a 50-50 chance so I thought 'Why not'. It was a justifiable decision that they made."
Cumani even conceded the grounds for protest were missed by him until viewing the replay.
"It's a shame to win them like that and to be honest I hadn't noticed watching it, which means I need to get my glasses on," Cumani quipped.
"I'm delighted for the horse, he's been fantastic so far and I think he could have won a couple more actually if things had gone slightly differently.
"This race worked out quite well for him. They went a decent tempo, then they did slow it up a little bit, which was a bit stop and start, which didn't suit him. He's a horse that likes as far as you can go, he likes Heavy ground."
Cumani indicated that Monbaher could have his next start in the $175,000 Flemington Cup (2800m) on July 16.
"I think the 2800 metres will be perfect," Cumani said.
MONBAHER was bought by Badgers Bloodstock for just 45,000 gns at the 2021 Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale.