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02/06/02 Drama as Final Race Protest Upheld
After a day already packed with controversary stewards have taken the rare step of upholding a protest after the final race at Caulfield today.

Young apprentice Fabian Villella lodged a protest against the winner Star of Snippets for alleged interference over the concluding 200 metres.

After a lengthy inquiry stewards upheld the objection and switched the first two placings, thus elevating the original runner-up Oarsome Ruler to the winner's place.

The stewards panel led by the state deputy Terry Sharp listened to submissions and some questions from the connections of both Oarsome Ruler and Star of Snippets before coming to their decision.

Villella said in the inquiry his horse was the victim of Star of Snippets laying out over the conluding stages.

"I'd say the other horse (Star of Snippets) came out at least three or three and a half horses," Villella said.

"Reece (Wheeler) continued to allow his horse to roll out and forcing my horse to lose position when it had momentum," the young hoop added.

Chris Hyland, the son of Oarsome Ruler's trainer Pat, and a part owner of the gelding, was nothing short of brilliant in the hearing.

Hyland reminded stewards that Wheeler had not ridden to the Australian rules of racing.

"At no point did he choose to stop riding his horse and straighten it," Hyland told stewards. "This is against the rules of racing."

Hyland also brushed off one of the points made by Wheeler at the inquiry.

"Reece said the horse was having its first run down here coming from Queensland. That really doesn't matter its now here and has to race the same as we do," Hyland added.

The excitement of Oarsome Ruler's connections in the mounting yard after the announcement was broadcast over the loud speaker was unparalled.

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