Ice Age
Ice Age

Ice Age wins Sky Bet Windsor Sprint Finale

Ice Age (7/1), third 12 months ago, produced a gutsy performance to win the second running of the valuable Sky Bet Windsor Sprint Series Finale.

With a first prize of over £46,000 the six furlong handicap attracted a high-class and competitive line-up with 15 facing the starter after Open Wide was declared a non-runner earlier in the day.

Standard each-way terms were reduced to three places from four but the sponsors still paid out on the first five home for each-way bets meaning that supporters of Englishman and Spring Loaded were rewarded.

As is often the case when rain gets into the ground at Windsor, the runners headed towards the far side with the exception of the well-backed Stake Acclaim who raced solo up the stands' side rail, finishing third.

The Shergar Cup winner, who was far from friendless in the market, was always in the firing line and so, too, was the eventual winner Ice Age in a race where nothing got involved from off the pace.

Trained by Eve Johnson-Houghton, the mildly progressive four-year-old was always in the firing line and stuck to his guns for Edward Greatrex as the pair saw off a host of challenges.

The last to lay down the gauntlet was Upstaging, third in the Stewards' Cup on his previous start, but Paul Cole's charge had to settle for minor honours as another valuable prize eluded him thanks to the tenacity of the Frozen Power gelding.

Click here for the full result and free video replay.

The valuable victory was the result of a plan coming together for the Oxfordshire handler who has her sights set on bigger targets for Ice Age.

"He's a great horse," Johnson-Houghton told At The Races. "We've had this planned for a long time. I aimed for it with three horses and two of them got in.

"He's just really improving and improving this horse. I keep on entering him for big races, thinking he'll go up enough in the handicap to get in there and I think he's got a big Wokingham, Ayr Gold Cup - he's in the Ayr Gold Cup but won't get in that, might get in the Silver - that sort of race in him.

"He's improving mentally all the time. Chuffed with him.

"He's got a great cruising speed. He's normally first out of the boxes and he sort of hits them running and he used to almost over race for the first two or three furlongs and then grind it out to the end but now he just travels much sweeter so he can cruise for longer.

"You have to be quick to be quicker than him. He was first out of the boxes over five at Newmarket the other day. "

When asked about the quality of the ride by Greatrex given Stake Acclaim raced away from the field, she replied: "You just have to ride your own race and luckily he's got confidence in the horse and confidence in me that he can do that."

Ice Age was providing Greatrex with one of the biggest victories in his fledgling career and he was understandably thrilled.

"Eve and her team have been brilliant to me so it's fantastic to get a nice one for them," he said.

"He's a pleasure to ride. He's a bit an auto-pilot horse to be honest. He jumps, travels, goes through the gears fine and he's a nice enough horse now."

While fast from the gates, Ice Age wasn't actually the fastest performer in the Sky Bet Windsor Sprint Series Finale.

Total Performance Data have collected figures throughout the series on the average miles per hour furlong-by-furlong for all of the runners.

Gulliver posted the highest average mph for a furlong split in the Finale but was still priced at 14/1 in Sky Bet's unique market for which horse would run the fastest furlong.

The betting was headed by disappointing favourite Atletico but there was a dead-heat for the fastest furlong with Tomily and Englishman both running 220 yards in a time of 10.9 seconds.

The fastest speed in the race was notched by Tomily who hit a top speed of 41.5mph approximately 15 seconds after the race started.

Table Performance Data
Table Performance Data

Table Performance Data
Table Performance Data

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