Tara Laing and jockey Chase Maujean maintained their superb run of winning form when they partnered for a big hat-trick on Christmas eve at Fairview – including a sensational end to end victory for the evergreen 7yo Afrikaburn in the R150 000 Listed Memorial Mile.
Taking on the hardknocking Cape combination of Justin Snaith and Richard Fourie with the well-performed raider Star Express at level weights was never going to be a cakewalk. But the underrated Maujean took the fight to the opposition and rode a well-judged race to lead all the way on Afrikaburn.
In fact the Maujean-Laing combination were a thorn in the side of the champion Cape visitors, denying them in both legs of what looked a decent double bet.
With no penalty for his Gr1 win success, which was achieved many summers back as a 2yo while still trained by Dean Kannemeyer, the Fred Crabbia owned gelding showed superior fitness and Maujean probably won his race at the top of the home straight when he poached two lengths on his field.
With Captain Marmalade refusing to jump, there were only six vying for victory as Afrikaburn led Breakfast Club, Laws Of Succession and Go Direct, with Star Chestnut and Streak Of Silver further back.
Afrikaburn kept up his two length advantage into the 400m as Streak Of Silver and Laws Of Succession looked dangerous, with Star Chestnut unwinding wide out.
None of them could grab the free-striding Afrikaburn though and the Trippi gelding took his earning to over R1 million as he beat Star Chestnut by a half length in a time of 98.75.
Laws Of Succession was a half length back in third, with Streak Of Silver stopping late to run fourth.
Afrikaburn, a R900 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale graduate, has won 7 races with 17 places from 42 starts for stakes of R1 085 850.
Bred by Drakenstein Stud, he is by champion sire Trippi (End Sweep) out of the three-time winning Peintre Celebre mare, Aquatint. That makes him a half-brother to Snaith’s recent Gr2 Mechants winner Kasimir (Captain Al). In fact there was some further irony in the defeat of the raiding favourite as the winner was once trained by the Snaith team – and the winning trainer was their one-time assistant in the Eastern Cape before branching out on her own to work for Markus Jooste’s Mayfair Speculators.
Team Tara and Maujean were on the boards earlier in the day with the maiden winner Countless Rewards and another evergreen star in Exelero, who registered his ninth win in the 1200m Pinnacle Stakes.