It wasn't actually handed down in a courtroom but it was the deciding factor in the case of COURT VICTORY versus Strategic Flight at the Cessnock racecourse on Monday 14th December 2015 when the pair fought out a thrilling finish in the Tooheys New Benchmark 60 Handicap run over 1350 metres.
After an in depth scrutinisation of a photofinish image, the judge found in favour of COURT VICTORY by the shortest of margins, 0.1 of a length.
What put even more merit into the win was that the six-year-old son of Volitant by Flying Spur had to do it the hard way, leading from start to finish.
The track condition on the day was rated a Good 3 which suited COURT VICTORY, as demonstrated by his wins at Port Macquarie and Queanbeyan, Mitchell Bell was to ride.
The only slight drawback was the fact that the mare had to jump from barrier eight out of ten.
Starting at the nice odds of $10, COURT VICTORY's price hadn't varied throughout the betting.
When the gates were released the mare began well from her wide barrier and after the field had gone 200 metres, Mitchell and his mount found themselves in front and doing it kindly.
Nicely rated, the pair remained in front whilst behind them jockeys were pushing their mounts along in order to remain in touch with COURT VICTORY. Prior to the home turn Rocco in the House and Strategic Flight, under hard riding, were gaining ground on the leader.
Mitchell, knowing he still had something left in the tank, remained calm that was until COURT VICTORY was balanced in the straight, it was then he asked his horse for an effort.
One hundred metres later, it was a couple of lengths to the rest of the field and the duo were full of running, heading for victory. With a 150 metres to go COURT VICTORY was beginning to fade slightly and the hard-ridden Strategic Flight was reducing the margin rapidly.
With the winning post so close, Mitchell maintained his rhythm getting everything out of his horse.
Still closing on the leader the post loomed too soon. The front-running COURT VICTORY got the nod from the judge in a very narrow margin, the time for the race was 1-19.83 ... the fastest 1350 metres time of the day.
What a grand effort from horse and rider, congratulations to the Drew family and their partners, to Mitchell for a 'heady' ride and Scott and the Team for producing COURT VICTORY in such fine fettle. The future looks very promising ... Good Luck to all concerned.