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By Graham Potter | Monday, September 6, 2021

There are times when the winners flow along nicely enough … and there are periods of time when they seem to stay tantalisingly just of reach.

Between Sonic Arrow’s win on August 21 and Sunday, September 5, the Tony and Maddysen Sears stable had to settle for no less than four second place finishes, a third place and two fourth place finishes.

The fact that all four runner-up finishes … from Red Wave (twice), Lady Fey and Eleuthera … came by narrow margins underlines just how fine a line it is that can separate a winner from an also-ran.

On August 22, Red Wave went down by 0.10 lengths in a BM 65 over 1400m at the Sunshine Coast. The winner Sergeant Silva was making it two wins in a row.

Two weeks later it was a case of déjà vu, this time in town where Red Wave again went down in fighting fashion in a QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap at Eagle Farm over 1600m, again by only 0.10 lengths and, yes that’s right, again beaten by Sergeant Silva who completed a hat trick of wins.

That left Red Wave with a win and two seconds in his last three starts.

Lady Fey, who was having only her third career start, only just failed in a QTIS Three-Year-Old Maiden Plate over 1210m at Toowoomba on August 28. That dreaded margin, 0.10 lengths, again was the narrow deciding factor as Lady Fey claimed her second runner-up finish in only her third career start.

The final second place claimed by a Sears trained runner during this period went to Eleuthera in what can be described as controversial circumstances in a Band 0-50 Handicap over 1800m at the Sunshine Coast.

Kyle Wilson Taylor seemingly had produced the four-year-old mare at exactly the right time as she angled a path in-between runners, running on strongly from behind in the closing stages, only for Ipso Nem Felek, who shifted out markedly at a crucial stage of the race, to drastically interfere with Eleuthera and send her sideways crashing into Gratsie who similarly was severely compromised.

In those final, dramatic strides Ipso Nem Felek stayed on to cross the line first, Eleuthera finished second and Gratsie survived to finish fourth. On the return to scale, the riders of both Eleuthera and Gratsie lodged individual protests against the winner.

In evidence, as in most protests, all three jockeys thought they would have won the race had the incident not occurred.

Given the severity of the interference … Eleuthera and Gratsie each received a particularly heavy bump … the likelihood of both protests being upheld was the popular opinion, but stewards saw the matter differently and came up with this verdict, as stated in the official steward’s report.

‘On return to scale a protest was lodged by both K Wilson-Taylor, rider of second placegetter ELEUTHERA and C Caserta, rider of fourth placegetter GRATSIE, against first past the IPSO NEM FELEK alleging interference over the concluding stages.

‘After taking evidence from all parties and viewing the patrol footage, Stewards found at a point inside the 50m IPSO NEM FELEK shifted out abruptly under riding making heavy contact with ELEUTHERA which in turn bumped heavily with GRATSIE resulting both runners becoming unbalanced. Bearing in mind the proximity to the winning post where the incident took place and the manner in which all runners finished the race off, Stewards dismissed the protest and correct weight on the judge’s placings.

‘At a subsequent inquiry J Molloy, rider of IPSO NEM FELEK, pleaded guilty to a charge of careless riding under AR131(a) in that passing the 100m he permitted his mount to shift out under riding when insufficiently clear of ELUETHERA taking that runner out onto GRATSIE which resulted in both runners bumping heavily and being checked. The licence of J Molloy to ride in races was suspended for a period of 10 days to commence midnight 12th September up to and including 22nd September 2021.’

For some, a combination of that description of the interference and the outcome didn’t quite add up, but that was it. The decision was final. Case closed.

For all of the disappointment, the positive out of all of these results mentioned above is that all of Red Wave, Lady Fey and Eluethera had been showing to good advantage and. in this tough game, that has to be taken as encouraging enough in itself.

More articles

Red Wave goes down narrowly to Sergeant Silva
Red Wave goes down narrowly to Sergeant Silva
... and a second time
... and a second time
Eleuthera ... getting knocked around. Just misses and the fires in a protest
Eleuthera ... getting knocked around. Just misses and the fires in a protest
Yes, I'm going to protest ... same result

Photos: Graham Potter
Yes, I'm going to protest ... same result

Photos: Graham Potter
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