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AN ON-TRACK battle between staying imports Mawingo and Manighar spilled into a war of words in the stewards’ room following the $500,000 Doomben Cup yesterday.

At the post, the Anthony Freedman-trained Mawingo, with Nash Rawiller on board, had a short neck to spare over Lights Of Heaven with the $1.70 favourite Manighar third, 1¾ lengths further away.

Manighar’s trainer Peter Moody fired in a protest against Rawiller’s mount, alleging interference on the first turn out of the straight.

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After watching film of that incident in which Manighar was badly checked and lost his position, Moody shook the room with his words.

”Near the winning post the first time jockey Rawiller showed absolutely no regard, nil care for my horse on the inside, Rawiller showed no safety,” he said. ”The margin has no relevance in this situation. Rawiller gets the gun run, my horse has to go back searching for runs and come down the outside where few horses have made ground today. Our rightful running was taken.”

Manighar’s rider Luke Nolen confirmed in his evidence that: ”It significantly affected our result.”

Rawiller, who bristled at Moody’s assertion, fired back: ”This is the most outlandish and frivolous protest I’ve ever been involved in.

”The film clearly shows I’m one off the fence. From my perspective, Manighar has resented racing inside me, or [was] not happy to be on the fence. I’ve caused no interference. It’s all the horse’s [Manighar’s] fault.”

Freedman, who was faced with losing his first group 1 race as a trainer in his own right, told stewards: ”To me, this is at best an ambitious protest. Manighar raced like a 2400-metre horse, tired after a long preparation.”

Stewards deliberated for about five minutes. Chief steward Wade Birch told all parties that stewards were ”satisfied Mawingo does shift in and cause interference to Manighar”.

But the panel could not be comfortably satisfied had the interference not occurred Manighar would have beaten Mawingo home. The protest was dismissed but Rawiller was later suspended for 10 meetings.

German import Mawingo staked an early claim for the big spring cups in Melbourne with his win in the group 1 weight-for-age event.

Specifically purchased as a cups contender, Mawingo’s win assured him a start in the Caulfield Cup. The Melbourne Cup was still on the horizon, Freedman confirmed.

The four-year-old’s future program is undetermined but Freedman suggested: ”We’ll have a talk about it with the owners but I’m inclined to pull up stumps now. He’s qualified for the Caulfield and Melbourne cups. He can have a short break now and get ready for the big races.”

Mawingo unleashed a powerful sprint from the 200m yesterday.

”He showed acceleration which I haven’t seen from him before,” Freedman said. ”He’s ahead of schedule. He’ll get into the Caulfield Cup with a nice light weight.”

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