The Darren Mc Auliffe-trained Rebel King has survived a controversial protest in the aftermath of the Listed Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m), to record his third Listed win.
Jockey William Pike, who rode the Daniel Morton-trained Man Booker to second placing in the race, launched a protest against Rebel King on the basis of the winner gaining an unfair advantage from his stablemate By Decree in the home straight.
By Decree went on to finish fourth.
Julien Kokotajlo, the rider of By Decree, was alleged to have shifted out to allow Rebel King to gain a run along the inside, as he went on to win by a nose.
After long deliberation, stewards dismissed the protest, with chief steward Brad Lewis indicating none of the stewards panel had seen any protest like it before.
Mc Auliffe labelled the protest by Pike a “frivolous” one, while Rebel King’s jockey Mitchell Pateman unsure of the rule which allowed Pike to protest against the result.
Morton said he wasn’t sure going into the steward’s room if the protest would be upheld, while Pike said he accepted the outcome.
“I was representing my owners and connections as I believe I should,” Pike said.
“The stewards made their decision though and I am happy with that.”
The protest overshadowed Rebel King’s victory, his third at Listed level.
Previously a winner of the Bolton Sprint and Scenic Blast Stakes, Rebel King enjoyed a comfortable run behind By Decree and sprinted clear at the 200m mark.
Man Booker had the last shot at Rebel King in the concluding stages, but narrowly fell short.
Mc Auliffe said it had been a team effort to have Rebel King ready for the Weight-For-Age feature.
“He’s been fantastic for the stable,” he said.
“We were going to put him away for the Winterbottom after his last effort.
“My wife said he had pulled up so well from that run and his fitness had caught up.
“It’s the best we’ve had him for a couple of years.”
Prior to the protest, Mc Auliffe said By Decree had got on the wrong leg and cost herself momentum.
“She went terrific,” he said.
“She’s retired now, it’s a shame she couldn’t get some blacktype.”
Morton said Man Booker would progress to the Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m) on September 15 and had an eye on the Group 1 features at Ascot beyond that.
Kingston Town Classic winner Pounamu finished seventh on his return to racing, with the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 15 the start of his Melbourne campaign.