2 May 2014 - Bendigo trained trotter Queens Vacation closed the Ballarat meeting last night with a bang, winning the last race on the card by more than 50 metres. The mare driven by Chris Alford did plenty wrong early in the race but motored away from her opposition on the final lap. Trained by Paul Campbell at Maiden Gully, Queens Vacation, a 4yo by Dream Vacation, broke at the start, raced fiercely, hung out in the straight the first time and then withstood a protest before being posted as the winner. The winning margin was officially 50.4 metres and most punters who backed the $1.50 favourite would have struggled to recall another horse winning by such a big margin having to withstand an objection. But, with good reason the driver of 80-1 shot Long Story Short protested on the grounds his horse was inconvenienced. Consideration was given by the stewards to a protest lodged by John Kelly, trainer/driver of 2nd placegetter Long Story Short, alleging that the eventual winner Queens Vacation (Chris Alford) had gained an advantage and caused interference to Long Story Short when it galloped shortly after the start. Upon consideration of the evidence tendered by both drivers and the available replays it was established that when Queens Vacation broke it had maintained its ground initially for a short distance, when its driver was having difficulty restraining the mare, before Queens Vacation ultimately lost ground thereafter before returning to its correct gait as Stewards could not be satisfied that Queens Vacation had gained an advantage to the detriment of any other runner, bearing in mind the 50m margin between Queens Vacation (1st) and Long Story Short (2nd) , the protest was dismissed and All Clear given on the Judge’s numbers. Given that the winner galloped for the first 200m of the race and still settled in the middle of the field the protest was justified under the rules of racing.
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