Trainer Jason Warren is hopeful that Bel Sprinter can breakthrough for his first race win in almost 12 months when he contests the 2014 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick this weekend.
Bel Sprinter scored a dominant win in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens in March last year, but has not recorded a race win in the six starts following his maiden victory at the highest level of racing.
The Bel Esprit gelding resumed with a ninth place finish behind Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22 and Warren admits that his star galloper will need to improve on that effort, but believes he should be benefitted by the expected quick tempo in the Challenge Stakes.
“It was a little bit inconclusive, the Oakleigh Plate run,” Warren told Sky Racing HQ this morning.
“He was carrying the top weight and I thought that he was a little bit plain to the line for his standards.
“Obviously, he needs to improve this Saturday to beat the horses that we are lining up against, but in saying that I think that he will.”
Bel Sprinter arrived in Sydney on Monday morning and completed his first serious piece of trackwork on the Randwick Kensington track this morning.
Warren said that Bel Sprinter was not asked to do a great deal this morning, but is happy with the way that the Group 1 winner has settled in to his new environment in Sydney.
“The horse travelled up Sunday night and had a little clean out at Randwick this morning,” Warren said.
“He didn’t do a great deal of work and it was just sort of maintenance type work.
“We are really happy with where he is at and he has settled in really well.
“He is at the same stable and he knows Randwick well, which all helps.”
Bel Sprinter has not raced over 1000 metres since he took out the 2012 edition of the Group 3 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley, but has a stellar record over the distance; scoring four wins from as many starts.
Warren is unsure whether 1000 metres is the best distance for Bel Sprinter at this stage of his career and said that he will be taking it one start at a time with the six-year-old during his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
“It is hard to say whether or not six furlongs will suit the horse better,” Warren said.
“My gut feeling has always been that 1000 or 1100 off a high speed is his go.
“We are just taking it one run at a time and he is a gelding, so he is here to race.”
Bel Sprinter ($11) is currently on the fourth line of 2014 Challenge Stakes betting markets behind Snitzerland ($3), Buffering ($3) and Sessions ($6).