Sprinter to Miss Star but not Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes

Jason Warren’s exciting galloper Bel Sprinter is unlikely to be given the chance to defend their flawless record this Saturday in Flemington’s Aurie’s Star Handicap, but is still on track for 2011 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

Four-year-old gelding Bel Sprinter shares the same sire as Australia’s undefeated turf queen Black Caviar (Bel Esprit), and like Black Caviar Bel Sprinter is yet to lose a race.

Boasting a perfect three-from-three record so far, Bel Sprinter stepped up to 1100 metres and took to Flemington for the first time on July 23 to claim their toughest triumph to date.

Despite having handled the Flemington straight, Bel Sprinter is unlikely to tackle the first Group race of the season in Victoria this weekend.

“I think we might have been lucky to get away with the win last time at Flemington when he was a bit stirred up before the race and raced up on top of the speed which is not his normal pattern,” Warren said.

“Although it was a good effort by him to hang on and win after the work he did in the run.

“I’d rather see him race around a turn and ridden conservatively than run him down the straight again at Flemington.

“I think it will be a lot more beneficial to his future to teach him to settle.”

Originally Bel Sprinter was to contest the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse on way to their main spring aim – the $350,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 24.

Although they will put in a nomination for the race, Mornington-based trainer Warren said an acceptance for the Aurie’s Star Handicap final field was doubtful with a Caulfield race the following Saturday shaping up as a more attractive option for his talented sprinter.

“After a lot of thought, skipping the Aurie’s Star and waiting another week for Caulfield is a better option,” Warren explained.

“He gets a look at Caulfield ahead of the Rupert Clarke and I hope racing him back around the bend will help him settle better than he did when he won at Flemington last time.

“We’re dealing with an exciting horse who we are still learning about, but I wasn’t keen to take him back to straight racing this week after he over-raced so badly last time.”

The race Warren has on the agenda Saturday week is the $100,000 Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m), which could then lead to Bel Sprinter stepping up in distance for the $125,000 Listed Exford Plate (1400m) at Flemington on September 3.

Without Bel Sprinter in the Aurie’s Star, the race looks to belong to David Bridoake’s talented Octagonal filly Warm Love.

A winner of six of her 14 starts to date including a hat-trick at the Flemington track, Warm Love emerged as a spring star to watch when she finished third behind superstar Black Caviar and runner-up Hay List in the Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) in February.

Since then she has raced twice more, running third in the Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 16 and then winning a 1000 metre handicap sprint at Flemington two weeks later.

Brideoake was originally intending to save Warm Love for the $125,000 Group 3 WW Cockram Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 13, but the Aurie’s Star looks a better fit at this stage.

“It fits her program better,” Brideoake said.

“She can then go into another 1200 metre race (Dr Sheahan Plate) at Moonee Valley two weeks after the Aurie’s Star.”