DaCosta narrows Nunes’ lead with two-timer
SIR ALTON’s disqualification in yesterday’s open allowance/graded stakes cost title-chasing Wayne DaCosta approximately $700,000 and a chance to grab the trainers’ championship lead from title-holder Anthony Nunes.
In a dramatic finish to the $2 million event, which carries a winner’s purse of $1.092m, DaCosta’s importee, SIR ALTON, ridden by leading jockey, Anthony Thomas, took over from FATHER PATRICK a furlong and a half out, setting sail for home at odds of 6-1.
However, when challenged by rail-running St Leger-winner, NIPSTER, inside the last half-furlong, Thomas angled SIR ALTON to the inner, blocking the path of his only danger, who had to be snatched up by a protesting Christopher Mamdeen, who passed the post standing tall in the saddle, remonstrating the interference.
A stewards’ enquiry afterwards upheld Mamdeen’s jockey’s objection, which resulted in SIR ALTON’s number being taken down, making NIPSTER the winner, denying DaCosta his third consecutive win on the 10-race card after landing the Andrew HB Aguilar Memorial with 4-5 favourite RUSTY, followed by 12-1 shocker, LOOSE BALL, in the O & S Tack Room Trophy event.
DaCosta had earned approximately $1.2m from both wins and other placings in the co-features, chasing Nunes $1.62m lead, before SIR ALTON’s disqualification.
Meanwhile, the battle in both the jockeys’ and trainers’ standings continue this afternoon after Anthony Thomas rode two winners, ISINBAYEVA and RUSTY, to inch five clear of Dane Nelson, whose lone win was aboard PURE HEART.
In this afternoon’s feature for two-year-olds, the Pick 3 Super Challenge at seven furlongs, DaCosta’s DEN STREET, who showed real class when running on in the mud at six furlongs in last month’s Cash Pot Trophy, renews rivalry with Nunes’ HOIST THE MAST and SHE’S A WONDER, who he had both nabbed at the wire to win the Cash Pot Trophy on November 1.