Jason Warren’s flying five-year-old Bel Sprinter has come through their sensational Krisflyer International Sprint performance in Singapore well and has had the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) confirmed as a target upon their Melbourne return.
The talented son of Bel Esprit has enjoyed a wonderful 2013 so far with three top three finishes at elite level.
First-up the gelding blew away their competition in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) beating home the smart filly Snitzerland by and easy three and a half lengths in the Rosehill classic on March 30.
From there they took on the best in the business when going up against the mighty Black Caviar in her swansong race, the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m).
The ‘Black Flash’ was a formidable opponent but Bel Sprinter held their own and finished third behind her and the second placed Epaulette in the showdown.
It was then decided by connections to send the Group 1 winner on an international mission and they travelled to Singapore’s Kranji Racecourse for the prestigious Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) on May 19.
After getting caught back early in the run, Aussie hoop Hugh Bowman in the saddle, Bel Sprinter did terrifically well to improve their position nearing the turn for home.
They had more bad luck on the straight however getting checked with 400m left to run and were the widest in the field with 350m left to travel.
Producing a smashing late burst they finished off very strongly and ran through the field eventually beaten only three lengths by Lucky Nine.
Now they are back at home at Warren’s Denistoun Park stable on the Mornignton Peninsula and gearing up for another big campaign this time during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“Considering everything he’s gone through he’s handled the travelling really well and being both a gelding as well as a quiet sort of a horse it hasn’t had any ill-effect on him at all,” Warren’s assistant-trainer Mitch Beer said on Monday.
“Between quarantine in Singapore and IRT (International Racehorse Transport) everyone has just done a fantastic job, we couldn’t be happier with the horse.
“He got home into his usual box this morning and put his head straight in the feed bin, we wouldn’t change anything with him at this stage.”
Doing everything right in the lead-up to their resuming run, Bel Sprinter’s major assignment will be the Manikato at Moonee Valley on Friday night, October 25, the evening before the Cox Plate takes centre stage.
The Manikato could be the stage for a heated rematch between Bel Sprinter and their last-start conqueror too with Lucky Nine being considered for a trip down under.
“He’s been in a paddock up at Eastern Creek (quarantine facility) in Sydney and he hasn’t been boxed up there so he’s already had a pretty good break and we’ll just look to bring him up nice and slowly towards the Spring,” Beer added.
There is also a slim chance they will be fit and ready to go earlier with the chance of the newly upgraded $450,000 Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 27.
Looking further ahead Beer was also hopeful Bel Sprinter could put behind them their previous failures down the Flemington track and run well in the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) on Emirates Stakes Day, November 9.
“Now that his wind issue has been rectified and considering how well he ran the 1200 metres in Singapore, we can head towards those 1200 metres races in the Spring full of confidence,” he said.
“As we saw in the Manikato last year with his wind problem he just couldn’t run a strong 1200 metres, but who knows what he can do this preparation now that he’s had the surgery done, he’s effectively a new horse.”
Bel Sprinter contested last year’s Patinack Farm Classic but was a well beaten ninth crossing seven lengths off the winner Mental.