Jason Warren’s speedy four-year-old Bel Sprinter raced their way into 2012 Oakleigh Plate contention over the weekend, the ultra-consistent Mornington galloper posting career win number five from six at Caulfield in the W.J. Adams Stakes.
Resuming from a five month spell, before which they suffered their sole defeat to date when a close second to Lone Rock in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis at Flemington, Bel Sprinter was back to their best on Saturday winning the $100,000 United Arab Emirates Stakes (1000m), or WJ Adams Stakes.
Ridden by Ben Melham once again, Bel Sprinter ($2.70F) cruised to a one length win over Peter Moody’s quality mare Kulgrinda ($4), whom he trailed throughout, while the Mick Price-trained Faster Son ($18) crossed a further two lengths away third ahead of the fourth-placed Unanimously.
“A lot of relief, it is just good to see them get back to the track and do it,” Warren said after the first-up win.
“He is obviously very good.
“It was nice to see him settle again, very much like he did at Moonee Valley when he was very dominant (winning over 1000m on July 2, 2011).
“I am sure his last 600 metres is pretty sharp, he pulled off the back of a very smart mare (Kulgrinda) and ran her down so I think we are right on track.”
Sharing the same sire as superstar mare Black Caviar, Bel Esprit gelding Bel Sprinter is set for big things this autumn with connections now seriously considering them for the $350,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 25.
“Options are everywhere but he gets into the Oakleigh Plate with no weight,” Warren said.
It is shaping up as a crack edition of the Oakleigh Plate in 2012 with Peter Snowden’s four-time Group 1 winning colt Sepoy the star attraction.
“It has been our plan all the way through and now that we have a run under our belt it is a better way to take on the very smart horse, Sepoy, so we’ll still have a crack at the Oakleigh Plate” Warren continued, adding they would not give into prize-money temptation and contest the 2012 Lightning Stakes.
“It’s hard to go after a $400,000 race when there’s a $750,000 race that is probably no stronger, but we’ll stick with Plan A and that’s the Oakleigh Plate.
“I haven’t trained a Group 1 winner yet so we’ll try and get that out of the way.”
Bel Sprinter would likely meet Sepoy four kilos better in the weights for the Oakleigh Plate with Racing Victoria handicapper Neil Jennings indicating Sepoy would be on the 58kg minimum topweight, Bel Sprinter on 54kg.
Also impressed with the horse’s effort on Saturday was regular rider Melham, aboard of all six of Bel Sprinter’s starts to date.
“He is a very exciting horse,” Melham said.
“He got chopped out at the start, it was a blessing in disguise really, I wish it could happen every start.
“I was surprised with how well he relaxed, he has a few little issues but if he can relax like that there is a lot better things for him.”
Saturday’s runner-up Kulgrinda is also a possible Oakleigh Plate 2012 hopeful.
Another option for the Exceed And Excel four-year-old is the $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday week.
“I’d like to be having a crack at a race like the Oakleigh Plate on the limit weight or the Lightning depending on what lines up in the race,” Moody said.
Reigning Lightning Stakes winner is Kulgrinda’s unbeaten stablemate Black Caviar, and Moody is yet to officially rule her out of a title defense in the race on February 18.
Get all the latest Sydney and Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival race and betting updates right here at Races.com.au.
For all the best autumn odds, including futures betting on the upcoming Group 1s, head to Luxbet now and open an account with the online bookie offering all first-time depositing customers a $400 bonus bet when they quote the promo code BONUSBET!
2012 United Arab Emirates WJ Admas Stakes Results
Caulfield Race 6 – 04/02/2012
|1||1||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||Ben Melham||–||5||58kg||$2.70F|
|2||7||KULGRINDA||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||1L||10||54kg||$4|
|3||9||FASTER SON||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||3L||8||54kg||$18|
|4||6||UNANIMOUSLY||Matthew Dale||Blake Shinn||3.5L||4||55.5kg||$10|
|5||2||CANALI||Stephen Brown||Steven Arnold||4.25L||2||58kg||$15|
|6||10||SILVER BULLION||Leon Corstens||Chris Symons||4.45L||3||54kg||$91|
|7||8||GENERAL TRUCE||Ricky Maund||Glen Boss||4.65L||7||54kg||$9|
|8||5||SHOCK VALUE||David Hayes||Craig Williams||4.95L||1||56kg||$18|
|9||3||DEFINITELY READY||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||5.7L||9||57.5kg||$12|
|10||4||RAFFAELLO||Patrick F Ryan||Nicholas Hall||8.2L||6||56kg||$151|