After recovering from a minor leg abrasion that stopped them competing in the Newmarket Handicap Jason Warren’s brilliant sprinter, the aptly named Bel Sprinter, is ready to return to the winners stall in the 2012 Challenge Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday.
One of just seven horses accepted for this year’s edition of the $175,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1100m), Bel Sprinter comes into the race with an impressive career record of five wins from seven starts.
Their first loss was a close second in the Bobbie Lewis at Flemington last September before they missed out on the win again, this time finishing sixth, when beaten one and a half lengths by Brisbane galloper Woorim in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
Far from disgraced with their Oakleigh Plate effort, Warren intended to back Bel Sprinter up in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10.
They were scratched from the event, subsequently won by reigning Challenge Stakes winner Hay List, after suffering a slight skin abrasion to their hind leg after they kicked at post.
“He just had a little bit of heat around the scratch on race morning and you are never quite sure about their bloods when they’ve been on antibiotics, so I thought it was better to miss the Newmarket and focus on Sydney,” Warren explained.
The Mornington-based horseman is confident Bel Sprinter is back to peak fitness now and is looking forward to meeting fellow spruik sprinter Rain Affair in the Challenge Stakes on Saturday.
“I’m pretty confident that he is back to where he was before he won first-up at Caulfield,” Warren said.
“I’m looking forward to taking him to Sydney and I’m sure he’ll run well.”
Adding to Warren’s confidence that Bel Sprinter was up to Saturday’s Challenge was their smart workout at Sandown earlier this week.
“His work has been good and I’m really happy with him,” he said.
“I’ve galloped him a few times at home the Sydney way around and he has done it well.
“He galloped well that way at Sandown yesterday and Ben (Melham) was happy.”
The other major players that are likely to follow Rain Affair and Bel Sprinter in the 2012 Challenge Stakes odds at bookmaker.com.au once released are exciting fillies Elite Falls, who ran second in the Oakleigh Plate first-up, and Satin Shoes.
While acknowledging the class of the diminutive field, Warren wouldn’t swap his horse for any other.
“It’s a good field, but he will be competitive,” he said.
“He needs to probably win a race like this before we head to something like the TJ Smith and tackle Hay List and Rain Affair.
“At this stage he will probably go to The Galaxy after this.”
The $350,000 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m), also on the radar for the Clarry Conners-trained Satin Shoes, runs at Royal Randwick on Saturday April 21.
All of the Rosehill Guineas Day betting markets will be released at our number one recommended online bookie bookmaker.com.au shortly.