Sunday, 18 December 2011
: What A Winter, trained by Mike Bass, announced his return to the sprinting ranks in no uncertain terms as he won the R300 000, Grade 2, WFA Diadem Stakes(1200m) in convincing style at Kenilworth on Saturday.
| What A Winter wins easily|
Photo by Liesl King
A top sprinter at three, with wins that included the Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship(1000m) at Kenilworth, the colt then seem to lose his way and it was discovered that he had chips in both fetlocks.
Surgery followed and What A Winter
suggested he could be back to his best with a facile win in a Pinnacle plate on his seasonal debut.
Captain Secret, Royal Bounty and Ebony Flyer were quickest away, with What A Winter
under Karl Nesuis settling just off the early pace. Captain Harry soon assumed his customary role at the head of the field, ensuring a very fast pace.
At the 400m mark, top filly Ebony Flyer took the lead and it seemed as if she was going to dominate, with Nesius still tracking Captain Harry, electing not to react. Nesuis, however, knew what he was sitting on and at the 200m mark he popped the question.
What A Winter
| What A Winter|
Photo by Liesl King
responded in an instant to pull clear by two. Ebony Flyer(Jet Master) had no answer for the colt's devastating acceleration and had to settle for second 2.25L back. Captain's Secret(Captain Al), one of the early leaders, hung on for third a further two lengths back, with Copper Parade back in fourth.
“I am very relieved. I knew he should have the measure of this field, but you still worry. He is a top class horse and there is still more to come”, commented Bass
Bass then surprised everybody by stating that he is going to enter What A Winter
in the Grade 1 L'Ormarins Queens Plate(1600m) on the 7th of January, and if he gets an inside draw, the colt will run.What A Winter
will then defend his crown in the Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship on the 21st of January, where he is likely to meet the star sprinting filly Val De Ra.
“I got a nice lead from Captain Harry and when he started stopping on me, I just moved around him and let my horse go,” said Nesius.
What A Winter, by Western Winter out of the Ahonoora mare Waseela, recorded his eighth victory from twelve starts, taking his earnings to R1 251 870 for owners Messrs G N Shirtliff, M W Bass, Bryn Ressell and N M Shirtliff.