A change of jockey for Bel Sprinter is what connections think is needed to help the four year old bounce back to the winners list in the Group 1 $350,000 The James Boag Galaxy (1100m) at Randwick tomorrow.
Dwayne Dunn replaces stable rider Ben Melham on the Victorian sprinter after two unlucky outings this preparation.
Melham was the regular rider for Bel Sprinter, winning five races on the gelding including a first up win at Caulfield this prep in the Listed $100,000 United Emirates Stakes (1000m) on February 4.
But trainer Jason Warren succumbed to his owners requests and engaged Dunn after Melham’s two recent rides which saw him get cluttered up on the fence with nowhere to go when sixth to Woorim in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 25.
And then Bel Sprinter missed the start and ran home to finish fourth, less than a length behind Rain Affair in the Group 2 $175,000 Parramatta Leagues Club Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on March 31.
“Ben was disappointed, but the owners just thought, ‘If it’s not working, let’s change it’,” Warren said.
“We plan on heading up north for the BTC Cup and Stradbroke Handicap and hope to have Dwayne on, but when we get back to Melbourne, I fully expect Ben to be riding the horse.”
Dunn is also looking for a change of luck after four Group 1 seconds over the Sydney Autumn Carnival, three of them by the narrowest of margins.
He was runner up on Said Com in the $500,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) then beaten a nose on Rekindled Interest in the $400,000 Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 7.
And last week at Randwick proved just as frustrating when he looked to have the $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) won on Polish Knight only to be run down by Ethiopia and was unable to reel in Pierro on $1.65 favourite All Too Hard in the $500,000 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m).
Warren said that Bel Sprinter has continued to work well, but Sydney’s weather was the big query.
The Bel Esprit four year old is yet to start on a rain affected track and with Randwick rated a heavy 8 at the moment, the wet track is the unknown heading into Saturday’s Group 1.
“I worked him recently at Mornington and he worked on it as well as he’s ever gone,” Warren said. “We’re happy to roll the dice and see.”
“Obviously, the wet is the query. He’ll either handle it or he won’t.”
“I guess the little query is whether his action is too good to really handle it but we’ll see. If he gets through it, he can certainly win the race.”
Bel Sprinter heads the Galaxy betting at $5.50, just ahead of the Gai Waterhouse trained Nobby Snip at $6 with the Queenslander Temple Of Boom at $8.50 and Elite Falls at $9.50