Trainer Jason Warren has admitted that Bel Sprinter will head into the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley slightly underdone.
Bel Sprinter has had just one barrier trial, finishing second behind Shamal Wind at Cranbourne on September 9, since he finished second in the Group 1 Singapore Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) in May and Warren told RSN this morning that the overseas trip limited the time he had to get the Group 1 winner ready for his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
The Bel Esprit gelding has won all five of his previous first-up starts but Warren acknowledged that he was not particularly confident heading into the race now known as The Schweppes Stakes on Friday night.
“The plan was to get him back and see how well he did in the lay-off time because he had weeks of doing nothing after he raced in Singapore,” Warren said.
““Our preparation time has been shortened up a little bit heading into this race and 1200 is definitely a concern for me.
“I think the horses pet distance is probably a 1000 or 1100 so there are a few question marks for us but we will be there and hard to beat.”
The Moir Stakes draw a star-studded list of nominations yesterday and the field is set to be packed with sprinters that have the opportunity to claim the title of Australian Champion Sprinter that was vacated by Black Caviar.
Warren said he was impressed with the overall strength of the line-up but believes Darley sprinter Epaulette is the biggest threat to Bel Sprinter’s chances in the recently upgraded race.
“Epaulette beat Bel Sprinter home in the TJ and he is definitely the one to beat for me,” Warren said.
“The other horses have the score on the board, with placings at Group 1 level, and it is a really good line-up.”
Bel Sprinter could be in store for a lengthy campaign; with the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m), Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) and a potential trip to Hong Kong for the Group 1 International Sprint (1200m) all on the agenda for the six-year-old.