Rupert Clarke Stakes 2011 Shelved for Unbeaten Sprinter

Bel Sprinter

Plans for Bel Sprinter to target the Rupert Clarke Stakes 2011 have been shelved despite win at Caulfield

Jason Warren’s talented four-year-old Bel Sprinter may have maintained their flawless record with a fourth consecutive career win at Caulfield on the weekend, but plans to head towards the 2011 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes this Melbourne Spring Carnival have been all but abandoned.

Last Saturday Bel Esprit gelding Bel Sprinter stepped up to stakes company and continued their impressive form with a big three length victory in the Listed 60th Anniversary of National Service Stakes (1200m), formerly the Regal Roller Stakes.

Bel Sprinter started the short-priced favourite in the Saturday race markets and the best place to back them for their next run is at Australia’s leading online bookmaker Luxbet.

“He probably didn’t meet these horses that well at the weights even though he only carried 53.5kg but he deserved to be here today and we have got a good line on him now,” Warren said of the Regal Roller win.

After displaying a scintillating turn-of-foot reminiscent of another Bel Esprit offspring – Black Caviar – on the line Bel Sprinter, ridden expertly by Ben Melham, had three lengths to spare over Utah Saints ($13) while Colin Davies’ Stanzout ($13) was just a nose further away for third.

“It is a big thrill,” Warren said.

“I was hoping he wouldn’t have to lead…but he just found himself there.

“Ben (Melham) rated him well and he couldn’t hold the horse any slower.

“He is pretty classy, very exciting.”

Before their maiden black-type success, plans were for Bel Sprinter to target the $350,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 24.

Mornington-based Warren, however, is now unsure what Bel Sprinter’s main spring aim will be but has indicated that the Sir Rupert Clarke is off the agenda.

Having so easily won over 1200 metres on Saturday, Warren is hesitant to step them up to the 1400 metres and risk Bel Sprinter losing their sprinting genius.

“The Rupert Clarke was the plan but whether I get there I don’t know,” Warren said.

“We will have to have a good think about it but he is looking more like a short-course horse at this stage.

“We won’t jump into anything just yet.”

Jockey Melham supported Warren’s suggestions that Bel Sprinter was proving to be a hard-core sprinter and not a middle-distance galloper.

“Early doors we thought he might have been able to run 1400 metres but I think we have just scrapped the idea for the time being,” Melham said.

“I think he’d even be better off coming back to five furlongs.

“I didn’t dig him up at all today and he led.

“He has got a mammoth cruising speed.”

Connections will now re-evaluate the question of ‘where to next’ with Bel Sprinter, but their short-term target is likely to be the $200,000 Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 3.

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