A powerful finish from Sweet Mercy under star apprentice Dylan Gibbons has earned the mare’s connections a lucrative payday in the $500,000 Four Pillars Midway at Rosehill.
Backing up from an unplaced run at Randwick a week earlier, four-year-old Sweet Mercy was aided by a ground-saving ride from Gibbons before the David Payne-trained mare burst through between runners late to defeat top weight Oakfield Waratah ($12) by 1-1/4-lengths.
Burning Need ($9.50) was another nose away third.
“She’s only a little thing, if you look at her, but if you ride her right she’s got a hell of a finish,” Payne said.
Payne said he had been running out of time to get Sweet Mercy ready for the Four Pillars – a benchmark-68 handicap – after a slight setback meant the mare went more than a month between runs before backing up seven days after her Randwick outing last Saturday.
“We had to ease off her but that’s why we ran her and then backed her up,” Payne said.
“And being a small filly, she didn’t need that much work anyway.
“We thought she’d run well. She’s been running in better company Midways.”
Sweet Mercy was sent out a $19 chance with betting sites in the capacity 20-horse field and settled worse than midfield on the rail with Gibbons sticking close to the inside in the straight as Sweet Mercy started to make ground quickly.
Gibbons was able to take a narrow run between horses late and Sweet Mercy was up to the task.
“I may be tall but I’m skinny and the horse is skinny too,” Gibbons said.
“I was just travelling so well and when they pitched me half a run I thought, well it’s now or never, and to the horse’s credit, she was very brave.
“If she didn’t want that, she wouldn’t have got it, so I think we owe her a fair few carrots.”
Sweet Mercy’s first victory since May has taken her overall record to four wins from 21 starts.