OUR excellent headline photo by Candiese Marnewick shows a finish young apprentice Luke Ferraris will never forget. He got up to win Saturday’s Gr1 Allan Robertson Champion Stakes over 1200m by the shortest of short heads on Miss Florida (white-and-pink silks) and then had to survive what looked like a challenging objection from the jockey of the low-flying second filly, Cavivar (far side) that was over-ruled by the board of stipendiary stewards.
Ferraris rode an excellent race, keeping busy on his mount and riding for all he was worth on the Justin Snaith-trained Miss Florida, who looked as good as beaten near the inside rail when Tobie Spies’ lightning fast Singforafa went hammer and tongs in front and still held a two-length lead with just 100m to run.
Miss Florida kept fighting, roped in the leader and stuck her head in front right on the line, where Cavivar also came out the blue to pip Singfonico for second after being carried out and bumped over the last 50m.
While Miss Florida had shifted out late, Ferraris straightened her and the damage was done on her inside by the weakening Yessiricanboogie, who herself shifted onto Cavivar and gave her a slight late bump.
While there was only a wet nose in it, Miss Florida herself made no contact with the runner-up and won the race on merit. There is no doubt that Cavivar would have taken the laurels in one more stride, but following the few panicky minutes in which the finish was reviewed, the result was declared full and official, objection over-ruled. Miss Florida had gotten there first, and this was an exciting and memorable top-level success for an elated Ferraris and the ever-competitive Snaith team.
Ferraris, whose father David reportedly almost brought the house down watching the contest in Hong Kong, commented: “Miss Florida ran around a bit but it was just greenness, I think she will go on and win many races. A big thank you to the Snaith team.”
Snaith: “I am so excited for Luke, a fantastic kid, and for Nic (owner, Jonsson), because he bred this filly himself. I trained her mother (Diva’s Daughter), who was a beautiful filly and this is her first foal.”
Jonsson, who is still enjoying a deserved good run of big wins, said: “Chris Snaith forced me not to sell her mother, saying that she underperformed (as a racer) but that it would be worthwhile breeding from her.”