Trainer Jason Warren has revealed that enigmatic galloper Bel Sprinter will wear a hood when he enters the barriers before the running of the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Bel Sprinter has had issues jumping from the barriers throughout his racing career and missed the start badly in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29, which ended any chance he had of taking out the race.
Warren admits that Bel Sprinter can be a frustrating horse and is hoping that wearing a blindfold into the barriers may help the son of Bel Esprit focus before the start of the T.J. Smith Stakes this weekend.
“He is a frustrating horse,” Warren told Racing Ahead this morning.
“As soon as he draws an inside barrier he is there for too long in the gates and that is when he is more likely to miss the start.
“We are going to put the hood on him this time and just have it taken off just before they jump to help switch him on.”
Bel Sprinter will jump from barrier nine in the T.J. Smith Stakes and Warren believes it is the perfect gate for the six-year-old – if he can leave the barriers at the same time as the rest of the field.
Warren is confident that the large T.J. Smith Stakes field will make sure that the race is run at a generous tempo and he is hopeful that will benefit Bel Sprinter who possesses a devastating turn-of-foot when he is at his best.
“I think that it will work out really good for him,” Warren said.
“He should go in second last and not be in the barriers for very long and give him every chance to get away with them.
“He is probably mid-field or a bit worse in a big field like this.
“This field should generate a lot of speed and hopefully he will be getting to the outside – that is his best racing pattern.
“I am pretty confident that he will run well.”
Bel Sprinter finished third behind equine superstar Black Caviar and Epaulette in the 2013 edition of the T.J. Smith Stakes before heading to Singapore to contest the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m), where he ran second behind Lucky Nine.
Warren and connections paid the late entry fee to give Bel Sprinter a chance of running in this year’s International Sprint and said that his star galloper remains a chance of returning to Singapore for another tilt at the race.
“We will just be taking it as it comes.
“He has got to run very well this Saturday to think about going back over there; we are not going over there to make up the numbers.
“I think that his Challenge Stakes show that he is somewhere close to his best and if he is going as well as last year when he ran third in the T.J. Smith we would definitely look at it.”
Bel Sprinter is currently available at 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes odds of $51; with Lankan Rupee ($4) still a narrow favourite from Buffering ($6) and Gordon Lord Byron ($9).