NICCI GARNER: WHAT A WINTER was backed as though the result was a formality and he did not let his supporters down in the R600,000 Mercury Sprint (Grade 1) over 1200m at Clairwood on Saturday, beating second-favourite Delago Deluxe by 2.75 lengths.
What A Winter haemoconcentrated (produced too many red blood cells) and not run to form in the Golden Horse Casino Sprint before only weakening late to fifth behind Variety Club in the 1600m Gold Challenge in his last outing. His trainer Mike Bass had indicated before the Mercury Sprint, a weight-for-age affair, that his star sprinter was back to his best and What A Winter confirmed he was right.
Held up off the pace by jockey Bernard Fayd’herbe as Chocolicious and Midnight Serenade disputed the early lead, What A Winter was switched out to find daylight 400m from the post and made short work of mowing down the leaders. He had his head in front 300m from the wire and pulled away to win a good race.
Delago Deluxe, always well there, tried to make a race of it, but had no answer to the Bass runner’s finishing kick. Snowdon ensured a “favourites’’ Trifecta by finishing another2.75 lengths back in third with Copper Parade fourth.