Maddy Owen and Kateru don't do things the easy way.
The rising apprentice has now ridden the Mark Schmetzer-trained sprinter twice and on both occasions it took a photo for the pair to be declared the winner.
The latest of the narrow wins came on Sunday, when Owen produced a perfect ride to take out a gripping edition of the $50,000 Flying Handicap (1000m) feature at Dubbo Turf Club.
As the leaders and bulk of the field surged down the middle of the track in the straight, Owen found the fence with Kateru ($8) and surged home from near last to get to snatch victory late on.
It took a photo to confirm Kateru had passed the post ahead of Partners ($6), who had led for virtually the entire race.
Kody Nestor's Kosciuszko hopeful Jailbreak, first-up with 62kg on his back, finished in a dead heat for third with former Flying winner Under The Thumb, trained at Tamworth by Sue Grills.
Scone-based Schmetzer didn't make the trip to Dubbo but stable representative Ally Simmonds was delighted with the win and the performance of Owen.
"It's a thrill to win any race but cup day and a feature race, we're always happy to have our name out there," Simmonds said.
"This is Maddy's second win and photo finishes both times. She knows how to make it tight."
The result marked back-to-back feature wins for Schmetzer at Dubbo's biggest meeting after he won the Picnic Championships Final with Military Bay at the track in 2020.
In Sunday's Flying event, Kateru settled down last after getting away from wide out in gate 13.
Scott Singleton's flyer Partners jumped well, as expected, and shot to the lead while Makuba ($101) and Classy Rebel ($11) sat close behind.
Jailbreak also sat close to the lead and when they swung for home the only question seemed whether jockey Anthony Cavallo could get the very best out of Nestor's hope first up.
But while Jailbreak appeared the main threat and Under The Thumb also made a move, Owen had found nothing but open air in front of her after sticking to the rail.
She flew home to secure Kateru career win number five in start 20.
It also marked successive wins for the pair after a tight win on a heavy Scone track last time out and made it two victories and a placing in three starts since arriving with Schmetzer from Queensland trainer Chris Anderson.
"This is a beautiful horse," Owen said after the win.
"Mark does a great job and he had him perfect for today."
Simmonds echoed that, saying Kateru had quickly become a favourite around the stables.
"He's a beautiful horse to have at home and everyone just loves him," she said.
"He just seems to handle any track. We haven't had him too long but he's impressed so far with a third and two firsts."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: