Quintessential (NZ) survives protest to claim Cup

Quintessential (NZ) has scored a slender win in the $250,000, Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) however only after surviving a protest by connections of runner up Manighar.

The John Sargent-trained mare had returned to winning form when claiming the Chairman’s Handicap (2100m) the start prior and went about backing that up on Saturday.

Settling just outside the leader Voila Ici (IRE) and Glen Colless, Quintessential did not let the grey out of her sights and edged past the Italian import at the 200m who subsequently ran third.

She then fended off a late challenge from Peter Moody’s other imported grey contesting the race, Manighar (FR) and Brad Rawiller.

Only narrowly denied victory, connections of Manighar lodged a protest alleging interference just after passing the winning post for the first time.

After lengthy deliberation amongst the stewards the protest was dismissed.

Stewards were not satisfied the interference was enough to influence the result of the race thereby giving Quintessential consecutive Group wins.

The margins were a short head and 3/4L with the time 2.19.56 on the Slow 7 track with the final 600m in 35.00.

“She grows a leg here,” winning trainer John Sargent said.

“I think she has only been beaten once here and I think that was when she went back and was getting ready for the Oaks.

“She loves the course and the climate.

“I said to Damian to do the same as last week, use the 2kg from the others and to put the pressure on as they straightened up and it worked ideally.”

“I thought Manighar just about had her 50m out but she is a great little fighter and she skips through that ground very well.”

A four-year-old mare by Fast 'n' Famous out of the Sword Dance mare Florette the The Eagle Farm Cup was Quintessential’s sixth career victory and fourth at Group level for owners Nearco Stud Ltd Syndicate managed by G R Tomlinson. Her prizemoney earnings have now surpassed $600,000.