If one looks up the meaning of “burnt fingers” it states “to suffer unpleasant results of an action, especially loss of money”. This perfectly sums up those punters responsible for an avalanche of support for Paul Peter’s filly Big Burn at Scottsville on Saturday.
When bookmakers priced up on the grade 1 SA Fillies Sprint, they appeared to have got their sums right, quoting Justin Snaith’s star filly Captain's Ransom at 14-10 and Big Burn at 8-1.
In Friday’s column, the comment on Big Burn was that “she has each-way claims but the chances of her toppling Captain’s Ransom look remote”. Many punters took a different view. Big Burn was backed down from 8-1 to 3-1 with Captain’s Ransom drifting to 28-10 — a price which must have taken her many supporters by surprise.
The thinking of these backers must have been that Snaith had made the wrong choice in electing to run in a 1,200m race, a distance his filly had never tackled previously.
Snaith had the last laugh as Captain’s Ransom once again put her rivals to the sword with winning jockey Richard Fourie having time to salute the crowd as he hit the winning post.
In a post-race interview, Snaith said: “There aren’t that many grade 1 races around so it made sense to take our chances.”
The champion trainer’s previous success in this race came with Ebony Flyer in 2012.
True To Life turned in a gallant effort to fill the runner-up berth and then came Sound Of Warning and heavily backed Big Burn in fourth. For a moment, it looked like Paul Peter’s filly might mount a challenge but she failed to find any extra where it mattered.
Another fancied runner who failed to deliver the goods was Corné Spies’ youngster Prophet who started 2-1 favourite for the grade 1 Gold Medallion. One could say that Prophet did not get the clearest of passages, but she had to settle for seventh place about five lengths behind Sean Tarry’s 4-1 chance Thunderstruck.
This victory formed part of an outstanding double for Tarry and jockey Calvin Habib who also teamed up to win the Allan Robertson Championship with Sweet Pepper.
Thunderstruck beat home Corrie Lensley’s runner Now I Got You with Ocean Time in third. Another disappointment in this race was Eastern Cape raider Cliff Top who trailed in last.
The victory by Avontuur-bred Thunderstruck was another feather in the cap for sire-of-the-moment Rafeef. This year the stallion’s offspring have also won the SA Derby (Aragosta) and Computaform Sprint (Master Archie).
Lensley will be more than happy with the form of his runners as his best horse in the stable, Alesian Chief, took top honours in the grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint. Peter’s runner Smorgasbord had to settle for a minor placing. The 2-1 favourite here was Dean Kannemeyer’s runner Cosmic Highway and though a high draw was not in his favour, it was still a surprise to see Keagan De Melo’s mount trail in over five lengths behind Alesian Chief.
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