Fantisha on a path to Queensland Oaks
Stephen Rodgers
15:17 AEST Sat Apr 20 2013

Fantisha took the first step towards a Queensland Oaks start after surviving a protest to win the Princess Stakes (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Fantisha ($17), ridden by Tim Bell, was forced to race three wide for the majority of the race before clinging on to win by a nose.

There was a dramatic aftermath when Michael Hellyer, rider of runner-up Catalonia ($17), lodged a protest for interference in the last 150 metres.

"When I got to the 100 metres Tim Bell has crowded my mount and I had to straighten up and she's got going again only to be beaten a nose," Hellyer said.

"Without doubt I lost close to a length because the winner has contacted my horse in the incident and it's taken the momentum right out of my horse's finishing run."

Bell said the degree of interference had made no difference to the result.

"There was no way in the world my mount has made contact with his and the best horse has won," he said.

"My horse has shifted in but it's had no bearing on the margin and he had ample time to overtake me."

Stewards deliberated for more than five minutes before dismissing Hellyer's protest.

"Both horses have shifted ground but we can't be satisfied that there is contact between them," chief steward Wade Birch said.

Fantisha's trainer Steve O'Dea said Fantisha would follow the traditional path for three-year-old fillies during the winter carnival.

"She'll have her next run in the Gold Coast Bracelet in a couple of weeks then the Doomben Roses and if she shows that she can run a trip we'll look at the Queensland Oaks," O'Dea said.

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