Drakenstein Stud’s Triple Equus Champion sprinter What A Winter showed that he has lost none of his sweet timing from his illustrious track days when he produced his maiden first crop stakes winner on the eve of the two major yearling sales.
The exceptional racehorse, whose 15 career wins included four Gr1 successes, is currently South Africa’s Leading First Crop Sire by winners and stakes.
His son Fort Winter, trained by Yvette Bremner, showed his nine opponents a clean pair of heels when he skated home at a gloomy Fairview on Friday to win the R150 000 Listed East Cape Nursery.
What A Winter, a son of multiple champion sire Western Winter, is one of the best sprinters to have raced in this country in the 21st century and the handsome athlete has stamped his offspring with his regal good looks and seemingly his high quality fleetfooted ability too.
This has been clearly demonstrated by the demand for them in the sales arena.
The impeccably bred speed king had only one runner in the ten horse field and with all but one (Desert Chief) having won over the 1200m, the race had an open look to it – with local champion Alan Greeff suggesting it would sort ‘the wheat from the chaff’ in the current East Cape 2yo crop.
Yvette Bremner had three in the race, with the maiden Fort Winter looking to have a uphill task to beat his debut winning stablemate, Itsgonnarain.
But the fast growing-in-confidence Callan Murray always had Fort Fox (12-1) in the vanguard, as Desert Chief and Seattle Flame showed some keen toe, with Sacred Oration also poised to attack.
Into the 300m, Murray sent his mount for home, and he got the better of them and went on strongly under a well balanced ride to hold the late challenge of formerly unbeaten Sacred Oration by 0,75 lengths. No time was advised.
Grant Paddock’s Oratorio colt Sacred Oration ran on well for second and looks a fellow to follow over slightly further.
The 19-10 favourite and recent impressive debut winner Seattle Flame finished third a further 0,75 lengths back after showing good pace.
The rest were well beaten.
It has been a profitable week for the 20 year old Avontuur sponsored Murray, who picked up the Gr1 SA Classic last Saturday and a Gr3 feature winner North of the Limpopo on Sunday.
Trainer Yvette Bremner, who won earlier in the day with the uber-consistent Peach Delight, said that Fort Winter had caught her eye at the sale – she trained his dam and she also ‘loves the What A Winters’.
“I really liked him at the sale. He was small but very correct. This was a lovely win and what a moment for first-time part- owner Mark Dixon! This is the first horse he has owned. I’d reckon he is hooked!” she laughed.
Fort Winter, who races in a partnership of Mark Dixon, Bryn Ressell, Hedley McGrath, Ian Levitan and Mark Wright, has now won once with 2 places from his three outings for stakes of R110 400.
Bred by John Everett’s Eenfontein Stud, Fort Winter is out of the three-time winning Fort Wood mare, Fort Fox.
He is a R325 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, and was signed for by Kerry Jack Bloodstock.
Yvette will be happy to know that there are 4 What A Winters on the CTS Emperors Palace Select Yearling Sale on 21 April and 16 to choose from on the BSA National Yearling Sale from 3 to 5 May!