Divine Calling survived a protest from Craig Williams on Shamus Award to win the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
After doing battle on the track, Damien Oliver and Williams faced off once again in the stewards room; with both jockeys aggressively defending their horses and placing the blame squarely at the feet of their rival rider.
There was quite clearly contact between the two horses in the final stages of the race and stewards decided that the interference was caused by both horses shifting and ruled that they could not justify overturning the final result.
The protest overshadowed a clever ride from Oliver who rode Divine Calling in the middle of the field, against his normal racing pattern, after assessing the tempo of the race early in proceedings
The leading jockey won the Vitale and Sons Handicap (1500m) on the Stratum gelding at Moonee Valley on September 14 and has quickly formed an affinity with the three-year-old.
“Since he has come down here he has really thrived,” Oliver said.
“He hasn’t surprised me one bit; ever since I first sat on him he has given me a nice feel.
“The pace was hard today so it was nice to be able to sit off the pace and add another string to his bow.
“I thought on paper there could be a bit of speed and I had a clear look over early and it was on a bit so I decided to drop in on him.
“I think that we got in a little bit but I think that the inside horse got out a bit so I think that the rightful horse won.”
Trainer Gai Waterhouse was celebrating her second straight win in the Stutt Stakes after winning last’s year race with champion colt Pierro.
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2013 Stutt Stakes Race Results & Finishing Order
|1||2||DIVINE CALLING||Gai Waterhouse||Damien Oliver||–||12||57kg||$3.20F|
|2||1||SHAMUS AWARD||Danny O’Brien||Craig Williams||0.1L||4||57kg||$7|
|3||8||CLUSTER||Anthony Cummings||Hugh Bowman||0.4L||9||57kg||$6.50|
|4||12||BRING SOMETHING||Ken Keys||Glen Boss||2.9L||8||57kg||$31|
|5||6||LATE CHARGE||Patrick Payne||Mark Zahra||3L||5||57kg||$8|
|6||4||SAN DIEGO||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||4.25L||1||57kg||$7.50|
|7||10||CRIME FIGHTER||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||8L||3||57kg||$71|
|8||7||POLANSKI||Robbie Laing||Dean Yendall||8.1L||10||57kg||$26|
|9||5||THE BOWLER||Tony Vasil||Craig Newitt||12.35L||7||57kg||$18|
|10||11||LAST SIGHT||Stephen Brown||Dwayne Dunn||12.55L||2||57kg||$31|
|11||3||HONEY STEEL’S GOLD||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||15.05L||6||57kg||$18|
|12||9||COUNTRYMAN||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||17.05L||11||57kg||$17|