Shot of Irish (inside) and Plein Ciel fight out the finish (Image: Racing Photos/Reg Ryan)
Favourite punters were left with a sour taste in their mouth and jockey Billy Egan with a six-meeting ban after stewards ruled on his over-use of the whip on dead-heater Plein Ciel at The Valley.
Plein Ciel ($8.50) came off the back of favourite Shot Of Irish ($2.70) in the $100,000 Travis Harrison Cup (1600m) and lunged on the line in a desperate finish with the judge unable to split the pair.
Stewards later found Egan had struck his mount nine times before the 100-metre mark, where only five strikes are permitted, for a total of 21 strikes over the course of the race.
Egan was also fined $1500 for the whip breach, which was his sixth since last August and comes on the back of two infringements at the Flemington meeting last month.
His penalties are the same as those handed to jockey James McDonald when he struck New Zealand horse Catalyst seven times prior to the 100 metres for a total of 21 strikes when the horse was nosed out by Alligator Blood in the Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in February.
Shot Of Irish was one of the shortest priced favourites for the day and his tote price of $2.70 was halved to $1.35 after the protest while he was also a key runner for punters in multiples, where those dividends had to be shared with Plein Ciel.
Egan, who rides mostly for top trainer Patrick Payne, is enjoying his finest season with the 30 year’s 90 Victorian winners so far this season placing him fourth in the premiership race.
WATCH: Plein Ciel share victory with Shot Of Irish