Bel Sprinter to reform bad habits in Winterbottom Stakes

By: Mark Mazzaglia
November 13th, 2014

Mornington trainer Jason Warren is hoping his Group 1 winner Bel Sprinter can reform his bad barrier habits when he lines up in the Group 1 $750,000 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth on November 22.

Bel Sprinter heads to Perth for the Winterbottom Stakes. Photo by Steve Hart.

Bel Sprinter heads to Perth for the Winterbottom Stakes. Photo by Steve Hart.

Bel Sprinter had a bad reputation of missing the kick is past seasons and the bad habit surfaced again when he lost all chance after bombing the start and coming out five lengths behind the field in the Group 2 $300,000 Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.

The Bel Esprit gelding was never in contention after the slow get away and finished ten lengths behind Deep Field in sixth spot.

Warren blames the length of time Bel Sprinter had to stand in the barriers while two horses had to be vet checked at the start, leaving his stable star standing in the gates longer than normal.

Eclair Big Bang was declared a late scratching after it hits its head in the barriers while In Cahoots was passed fit to run after being fractious in the stalls and dislodging its rider Damien Oliver.

Warren is hoping that situation doesn’t happen again and would also be happy if Bel Sprinter drew closer to the outside than the inside so he wouldn’t have to stand in the starting gates too long.

“If the horse is in the barriers too long, he will miss it,” Warren told Racing Network.

“We just don’t want to draw barrier one, two or three (in the Winterbottom) so he’s not in there too long. I’d be happy with the outside gate so he gets loaded last.

“It’s well worth taking the horse to Perth – firm track, around a bend and weight-for-age.”

Bel Sprinter will head to Perth in great order and Warren was very happy with the geldings work this morning on the Mornington course proper with Winterbottom Stakes jockey Ben Melham aboard.

“He had his last main gallop this morning on the course proper at Mornington on the rail,” Warren said

“He worked up really well, Ben Melham rode him and he was wrapped with the work.”

The Winterbottom Stakes will be Bel Sprinter’s third run back after he kicked off his Spring campaign in the Group 2 $200,000 Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint (1100m) at Caulfield on October 18 coming from last to dead heat with Miracles Of Life in a blanket finish that saw Shamal Wind a nose away in third position.

Warren is hoping for Bel Sprinter to collect his second Group 1 prize after winning the Group 1 $350,000 Canterbury BMW Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Carnival.

Bel Sprinter is currently marked as an $11 chance for the Winterbottom Stakes with who have the Robbie Griffiths trained Angelic Light the $3.50 favourite  ahead of Moment Of Change at $6 and local sprinter Magnifisio at $8.

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