Trainer Jason Warren has confirmed that the talented Bel Sprinter will begin his 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate(1100m) at Caulfield on February 22.
Bel Sprinter finally lived up to his potential during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival; winning the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) in dominant fashion before finishing third behind Black Caviar in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and finishing an impressive second behind Lucky Nine in the Group 1 International Sprint (1200m) in Singapore.
The Bel Esprit gelding was unable to replicate that form in the spring, finishing sixth in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m), eight in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and eighth in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m), but Warren told Racing Victoria that he believes the greater variety of sprint races on offer in the autumn suits his star galloper.
Warren revealed that Bel Sprinter will be primed for a first-up tilt at the Oakleigh Plate during the Melbourne Festival Of Racing before heading to Sydney for the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 15 and a possible defense of his The Galaxy as well as another crack at the T.J. Smith Stakes, which is now the richest sprint race in the world with $3 million in prizemoney on offer.
“He’s just back in pre-training; He’s had a week-and-a-half of trot and canter so far and he is doing really well,” Warren said.
“We really want to win a Group 1 in Melbourne with him and the Oakleigh Plate looks the right race.
“Going on the weights in the past few years he’ll probably get around 57 to 58kg.
“It’s a race with high pressure where he can get back and run-on and that’s his go.”
Bel Sprinter has now had six runs at Group 1 level in Melbourne but has been unable to even crack a placing.
He was disappointed for a run when sixth behind Woorim in the 2012 Oakleigh Plate and gave himself no chance after missing the start in both the Manikato Stakes and Patinack Farm Classic during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival.
The enigmatic sprint missed the start in both his starts at Moonee Valley this campaign but had no excuses when well beaten by Buffering in the VRC Sprint Classic.
Bel Sprinter will be the first horse since Grey Receiver in 1982 to win back-to-back editions of The Galaxy if he is successful in the Group 1 event next year.