A successful return to the racetrack this Saturday at Caulfield for Bel Sprinter will be enough incentive for trainer Jason Warren to take on the best sprinters in the country for the rest of the Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
Warren is aiming Bel Sprinter towards the sprinting Triple Crown which kicks off with the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes over 1000m at Flemington on February 18, followed by the Group I $400,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield a week later. The final leg of the Triple Crown is the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10.
Promising four year old Bel Sprinter is a winner of four of his five starts and the stable is confident that he will be very competitive in all the major sprint races over the carnival now that Black Caviar is heading to 1400m weight for age races.
“Outside Black Caviar, we’re confident he’ll acquit himself well against any opposition,” said stable manager Simon Lavery.
“He’s come up absolutely lovely in condition. He’s 35kg heavier than last preparation and appears to be holding that weight after some serious work.
“He’s definitely a stronger horse this time in.”
Bel Sprinter was sent to the paddock after finishing second to Lone Rock in the Group 3 Bobby Lewis (1200m) down the straight at Flemington on September 11.
The start before the Bel Esprit gelding showed his full potential with an all the way win in the Listed Regal Roller Handicap (1200m) trouncing his opposition by three lengths with regular rider Ben Melham.
On Saturday Bel Sprinter is likely to clash with last start Flemington winner First Command and the well performed Canali and Definitely Ready in the Listed W.J. Adams Stakes over 1000m at Caulfield.
But it’s only going to get tougher with the likelihood of having to take on horses of the calibre of Hay List and Foxwedge in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington and then Sepoy as well in the Oakleigh Plate a week later.
“We’ve got the utmost respect for Hay List. Our bloke is going very well though,” Lavery said.
“After the Lightning we’ll probably go to the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) a week later.”
“He’s a great horse too but he’ll be a three-year-old giving us weight,” Lavery said of Sepoy after his trainer Peter Snowden had already picked the Oakleigh Plate as Sepoy’s comeback race for the Autumn.
“Hopefully he’ll then head to the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington but we don’t want to be racing the mare (Black Caviar).”
The Anthony Freedman trained First Command looks the obvious danger on Saturday but Lavery said that Bel Sprinter was well weighted for his return and would be hard to beat.