A protracted photo-finish decision between two stablemates and a triple protest made for an action-packed postscript to Saturday’s Up And Coming Stakes at Randwick.
The Paul Messara-trained pair of Scissor Kick and Panzer Division hit the line together and it took the judge several minutes to declare a nose margin in favour of Scissor Kick.
While the stablemates had an unimpeded run, out wider third past the post Liberation caused havoc for three rival runners, ducking out sharply and initiating a domino effect of interference to Valentia, Better Land and Meursault.
As a delighted Messara pronounced Golden Rose plans for his pair, Tommy Berry (Valentia), Glyn Schofield (Better Land) and Kerrin McEvoy (Meursault) fired in protests.
Liberation’s jockey Tim Clark said he had no control over his mount who lost a race at Rosehill on protest earlier this month in similar circumstances.
“I thought he was going to do a U-turn and head back into the mounting yard at one stage,” Clark said.
Stewards upheld the objections of Schofield and Berry but dismissed McEvoy’s with Liberation relegated to sixth while Valentia was promoted to third and Better Land fourth.
Both Berry and Schofield felt their horses could have won with clear runs but those honours were with a chuffed Messara who spent the morning convincing his father and main owner John to start Scissor Kick and Panzer Division in the wet.
“They are two super colts who I’ve always had big opinions of and they have amazing pedigrees with stallion potential,” Messara said.
That will be increasingly important for Messara who has recently reduced his team to six after deciding to become stud master at his father’s Arrowfield Stud.
“I’ve got to be careful now I’m stud master. I might want to retire them earlier than I used to,” Messara said.
Saturday’s results confirmed Golden Rose plans for Scissor Kick and forced a rethink with Panzer Division, who was being aimed at the Spring Champion Stakes but will now join his stablemate in the $1 million Golden Rose in three weeks.
The Gai Waterhouse stable will spell Liberation and recommend he is gelded.
Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy said the horse must also barrier trial in a race saddle and be “fair dinkum tested” before he can race again.