Jockey Ben Melham believes that luck in running will be the key for Bel Sprinter in the 2014 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
Bel Sprinter returned to his best form when he started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival with a victory, in a dead heat with Miracles Of Life, in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m) at Caulfield on October 18, but he missed the start very badly when sixth behind Deep Field in the Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
Connections of Bel Sprinter were delighted when the Bel Esprit gelding was allocated a wide barrier at the 2014 Winterbottom Stakes barrier draw on Tuesday night, because he will be one of the last horses to enter the gates, but Melham said that he still expects the seven-year-old to be the slowest horse out of the gates in the Group 1 event this weekend.
Melham told TVN that he believes Bel Sprinter is capable of overcoming his likely slow start in the Winterbottom Stakes, but he feels the gelding will need some luck in running to record a second win at the highest level of racing.
“We’ve got to accept the fact that he’s probably going to begin slowly, just as long as he doesn’t give too much of a start away,” Melham said.
“You know he’s going to be back in the field so it comes down to the run and luck he gets in the race.
“If the right horse turns up on the day he can win. If he runs up to his work before he left for Perth he’s going to be very hard to beat.
“I’m not too worried about his draw, it is not a bad draw. I think it will come down to how far he misses it and luck in running.”
Bel Sprinter stamped himself as one of the best sprinters in the world when he took out the 2013 edition of the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) in outstanding fashion, finished third behind equine superstar Black Caviar in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and finished second behind Lucky Nine in the Group 1 Singapore International Sprint (1200m), but the talented sprinter was plagued by slow starts in his past two preparations before he returned to his best form in the Caulfield Sprint.
Bel Sprinter is currently available at 2014 Winterbottom Stakes odds of $11, while Angelic Light ($3) remains favourite from Moment Of Change ($4.40), Sidestep ($6) and Magnifisio ($7.50).