Wide gate no problem for Bel Sprinter in Oakleigh Plate

By: Mark Mazzaglia
February 26th, 2015

Mornington trainer Jason Warren has no concerns with his stable star Bel Sprinter drawing the outside barrier in the Group 1 $400,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Bel Sprinter has drawn barrier eighteen in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield. Photo by Steve Hart.

Bel Sprinter has drawn barrier eighteen in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield. Photo by Steve Hart.

Whereas most trainers in the same predicament would be tripping over their bottom lip, Warren said that barrier eighteen would actually be an advantage for the notoriously bad beginner.

Bel Sprinter has a long history of the missing the start and Warren puts that down to him being asked to stand in the barriers too long before the starter lets them go.

Bur drawing the outside gate will see Bel Sprinter loaded last in the big field and he won’t have to wait long for the starter to push the button.

“Anyone else would be disappointed with eighteen, but I’m not deterred as the horse is always a little bit slow away,” Warren told the Herald Sun.

“He’ll begin really well from barrier 18 as he’ll go in last and he’ll then get back in the field, but they’ll know he is there on Saturday.”

Bel Sprinter will be lining up for his third attempt at the Oakleigh Plate after finishing ninth behind Lankan Rupee last year and an unlucky sixth to Woorim in 2012.

“I think it’s a good chance for him to bounce back and hopefully win the race we should have won a couple of years ago,” Warren said.

“Things didn’t go well for us that day, but Ben is back on and he gets the chance to make amends. He has been riding very well and rides a lot of winners for me.”

Ben Melham had been Bel Sprinter’s regular rider in the earlier part of his career but miss the ride on the giant sprinter when Kerrin McEvoy steered him to his only Group 1 win in the 2013 $350,000 Canterbury BMW Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill.

But Melham got a recall during last year’s Spring Carnival, which included a dead heat for first with Miracles Of Life in the Group 2 $200,000 Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint (1100m) at Caulfield, and will be back in the saddle again in the Oakleigh Plate.

Bel Sprinter had a short freshen up after finishing seventh to Magnifisio in the Group 1 $750,000 Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth in November and the seven year old ran fourth to Lankan Rupee in an 800m Cranbourne barrier trial on February 9.

2014 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Earthquake heads the market order for the Oakleigh Plate at Ladbrokes.com.au at $5 with Vain Queen the second pick at $6 ahead of Sydney mare Atmospherical at $8.50 and the Peter Moody trained Flamberge at $9.50.

Bel Sprinter is currently marked as a $17 chance after opening at $15 when the field was released on Wednesday.

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