It was some time ago that Thermal Current last saluted the judge, February 4th 2017 to be precise, but the last 20m of the $150,000, listed Absolute Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Thursday changed all that as the eight-year-old gelding under Craig Williams took the race by a short neck margin.
The sprint up the straight course looked to have been captured by John O’Shea’s Kaepernick, another long term sprinter at seven, with Tye Angland appearing to judge the run to perfection. Except there was a one horse width between Kaepernick and the outside rail, and Williams send Thermal Current into exactly that gap.
In the final strides the Darren Weir trained Thermal Current claimed Kaepernick for his eighth win from 53 starts taking his stakes to not too far short of the magic million mark at $839,850.
Williams had settled at the rear of the field as they fanned across the track with Jim Crowley on Faatinah with 59kg leading the way. At the 300m Thermal Current was 6L from the leader but quietly Williams brought him into the race. From the 100m Williams asked Thermal Current to extend and with perfect timing they struck for the win.
Kaepernick (Fastnet Rock) (58kg) and Angland were a half-head in front of I’ll Have A Bit (Smart Missile) (57kg) and Jamie Mott. Faatinah was fourth.
The time was 57.33 on the upgraded Good 3 track with the final 600 in a smart 33.54. Thermal Current’s absence from the winners stall had been noted by punters and he paid $41.00 on fixed odds and $32.50 on the tote.
Thermal Current, left, I'll Have A Bit, Kaepernick and Faatinah, picture Quentinjlang.com
“It was some ride, wasn’t it? He had to make every move right for that horse to win and he did it. Big thanks to Mark O’Donnell who helps me with this horse at Warrnambool," said Weir.
“I reckon he has been racing really well without a lot of luck. He has just got to be ridden quiet and if he over-travels at any stage, he has not got that good turn-of-foot. If he can just relax like Craig had him then, you need things to go your way, obviously, but he has got a little sharp turn-of-foot if you do not get there too early. He does not give up, I suppose.”
“He has been around and he has got a tendency to certain things so he gets put onto the track with a rider very late. He actually made contact with the fence going out (onto the track) so he had to get vetted," said Williams.
“Credit to the procedures we have here in Australia – especially in Victoria – we have got vets running their eye over the horses to make sure that they’re 100-per cent going out there. The owners, the trainer, the jockey and the public get their right run for their money.
“Also the barrier attendants that we have, also the clerk of the course, they’re a big part of the industry. As long as it’s safe for the horses, safe for the riders, they’re big part of it so thanks for all the hard work during the year.
“Darren Weir’s preparation, the staff that he has there, the care and attention to the horse. The horse is a really happy horse. We just went out there with a plan to run well and I did not press the button until extremely late. He really responded. He is going great. Well done, Thermal," he said.
Thermal Current is by Exceed And Excel out of the Twining mare Soaressa. He is a home-bred for David Moodie’s Contract Racing and who co-owns with Mr N S Psaltis, Mrs G C Psaltis, Mr W J Peterson, Mr T Jovanovski, Ms J A Meagher, Mrs P A Donnelly, Mr W S Pelchen and Mr T N Porter.
Thermal Current and Craig Williams, picture Quentinjlang.com
Absolute Stakes - Century Stakes - photo finish picture Racing.com