It had been a very long 665 day wait for the connections of Daintree Road ($16.00), but patience paid off today in the Stavros Vitsas HCP 1400m with the 6yo Magic Albert gelding outlasting rivals to salute by ¾ length.

Plagued by previous poor barrier draws, hoop Daniel Staeck made the most of the third alley allocation, popping Daintree Road into the box seat early, as Dino Mak ($14.00) and Dare To Doubt ($3.50 fav) vied for the lead. Gifted a dream run in transit, Staeck switched off the heels of the leader passing the 400m mark, and powered to the line for a brave victory. New Time ($5.00) fought hard from a handy position to claim second, with Flag Officer ($11.00) putting in its best run for some time capturing third.

It would be one of six races today resulting a winning margin of a length or less, three of which requiring a photo to decide the victor.

The narrow victories started in the opener ( HCP 1400m) when Black Felix ($3.50 fav) led throughout for a clever ¾ length win. Thunderluv’n ($3.60) ran down Right Time ($2.35 fav) in the Sprint 1000m to prevail by a nose, while Oz Racing duo Street Bandit ($7.00) and Ready On Time ($20.00) fell painstakingly short in their respective races – both defeated by the smallest of margins – Street Bandit in the Budget Rent A Car Plate (1000m) being claimed by Flying Zoe ($4.00), and Ready On Time in the Richard Mortimer HCP 1400m beaten by Even Astar ($4.40). To round off the tight finishes, Back To A Walk ($6.00) did everything but, outsmarting fancied pair Stock Trader ($4.00) and Royal Inferno ($3.90 fav) to win the Morley Growers Market HCP 1200m by a length.

In other races, Western Blaze ($4.00) took out the listed Raconteur Stakes 1500m by 1 ½ lengths after coming from last on the turn, while Black Uma ($4.00) turned the tables on rival Black Tycoon ($2.60 fav) to salute in the Vitsas Family HCP 1800m.

Chris Blackwell