Much-hyped gelding Bel Sprinter is set to make his return this weekend when he runs in the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens.
The highly promising four-year-old last ran in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate on February 25 where he recorded a worst ever sixth-place finish.
He was then listed among the favourites for the prestigious Newmarket Handicap before trainer Jason Warren was forced to withdraw him following a superficial wound to his hind leg after some misbehaviour in the paddock.
Warren said yesterday the wound had not completely healed but showed enough improvement to no longer be a concern.
It will be the son of Bel Esprit’s first run in Sydney and it is set to be a testing one with high-class sprinter Hay List and Sydney star Rain Affair also included in race nominations.
Whether or not Hay List will be named in the final field tomorrow is still to be decided, as the Newmarket Handicap winner has a short turnaround following his shock loss to Foxwedge in the William Reid Stakes on Friday.
No matter who lines up in the barriers on Saturday, trainer Warren is confident Bel Sprinter has had the right preparation.
“He’s in good order. He’ll have his final gallop tomorrow morning at Mornington the reverse way and then head up to Sydney,” Warren said.
“This trip away will do him the world of good. It will just bring him back on again after having a bit of time off.”
Bel Sprinter has recorded five wins from seven career starts but is still chasing his first ever win at Group level.
A total of 12 horses were yesterday nominated for the Challenge Stakes with other names of note including five-year-old gelding Neeson and the Tony Noonan trained Varenna Miss who will be running first up after being spelled last October.
The Challenge Stakes is one of the feature races on an exciting Rosehill Card that is headlined by the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas.