First up specialist Bel Sprinter is back to his favourite distance when he lines up in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Bel Sprinter has won five of his six first up attempts and scored the biggest win of his career with a first up win in the Group 1 $350,000 Canterbury BMW Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill during last year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival.
The Jason Warren trained six year old has been out of the winner’s stall at his five runs since at Group 1 level but back to his favourite distance of 1100m the Mornington trainer is expecting his sprinter to be right in the finish.
“I think 1100 metres is his sweet spot,” Warren told AAP.
“He would sooner prefer 1000 metres on a turning track than a 1200 down the straight.
“I just think 1000 and 1100 metres are definitely his go because he gets that solid tempo in those races and can relax and then show the turn of foot that he’s got.”
Matthew Allen deputised for regular rider Michael Rodd when Bel Sprinter won a recent Cranbourne barrier trial and gave Warren a glowing post trial report.
“Matt actually rode Bel Sprinter this time last year heading towards Sydney and he felt he was going every bit as good,” Warren said.
Bel Sprinter failed to fire in the Spring with three unplaced runs at Group 1 level, a sixth to Samaready in the $450,000 Programmed Moir Stakes (1200m) and a sixth to Buffering in the $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) both at Moonee Valley and then an eighth to Buffering again in the $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington.
But his form in the Autumn was good and after winning the Galaxy finished third to Black Caviar in the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 13 before heading off to Singapore where he ran second to top Hong Kong sprinter Lucky Nine in the Group 1 S$1m Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) at Singapore on May 19.
Warren is keen to return Bel Sprinter to Sydney after the Oakleigh Plate to defend his crown in the Galaxy and have another crack at the T J Smith which is worth $2.5m this year as part of the ‘The Championships’.
And Warren hasn’t ruled out another trip to Singapore the S$1m Krisflyer International Sprint in May.