It’s ‘taken’ eight years, but highly decorated Pearcedale trainer Jason Thompson has another Group 3 RAM Security Cranbourne Classic (520m) in the trophy cabinet.
Back in 2012, Thompson won the race with superstar Proven Nitro. And late this afternoon, ultra-reliable speedster Taken caused an upset in the $25,000-to-the-winner final.
An unheralded sprinter, Taken ($11.50) defeated Arizona Eyes ($26.70) by 2.4L, with Manila Knight ($10.70) a further 1.2L away third in 30.11sec.
While Taken slipped under the guards of many punters, his performance was no surprise to young handler Holly Thompson.
“I was pretty confident about his chances going into the race, and watching the race he was close to the leaders around the final turn I sensed he was a really good chance,” Holly said.
WATCH: Taken (8) causes a boilover in an exciting edition of the Cranbourne Classic.
“He has a very good temperament and he loves racing. He knows what he wants to do whenever we go to the track. He pulls hard on the lead every time we take him to the racetrack because he’s so excited and he just wants to race.”
Fire Legend ($5.40) – also trained by Thompson – led Catch The Thief ($2.00F) to the first corner and down the back straight, with Taken third and tracking wide. But the race changed complexion when Fire Legend, who eventually finished fourth, and Catch The Thief ‘brushed’ approaching the circle.
Subsequently, ‘show stealer’ Catch The Thief – arguably the “next big thing” in the sport – finished an unlucky seventh, only 5.8L from the winner. He had won 10 of his last 13 starts and was chasing his third age-restricted feature, having won the G2 WA Derby and G3 Warragul St Leger.
Owned by Nicholas Darragh, the aptly named Taken (April 2018 Fernando Bale x Smitten) notched his 14th win (with six seconds and seven thirds) from 39 starts. His stakes spiralled to $68,560.
WATCH: WATCH: Swift Intention (7) wins the inaugural Karen Leek Memorial for trainer Lyn Smith.
It was also his third win in five starts from Box 8 and his second win from four starts at Cranbourne.
Taken was contesting only his second group race final. He recently finished fourth to Catch The Thief in the Warragul St Leger.
Incidentally, Taken and Fire Legend are sons of super sire Fernando Bale, who was represented by five finalists.
Earlier in the night, Swift Intention (Lyn Smith) won the inaugural Karen Leek Memorial for lady trainers, while Bessie’s Daisy (Billy Stockdale) snared the $5000 to-the-winner Backmans Pet Foods Grade 5 over 699m.
Photos by Clint Anderson