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Jason Warren’s consistent four-year-old Bel Sprinter is back in training ahead of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival where their big Group 1 target will be the 2012 Manikato Stakes in late October.
Won last spring by the great Hay List, this year’s edition of the $750,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) is scheduled for Moonee Valley’s twilight meet on Friday October 26.
Sharing the same sire as the mighty Black Caviar, Bel Esprit gelding Bel Sprinter has won five of their nine career starts to date with the Manikato Stakes 2012 to be their third test at elite level.
Last seen in the winners’ stall for their first-up success in the Listed WJ Adams Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield back in early February, Bel Sprinter was stepped up to Group 1 company for the first time for the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on Blue Diamond Day.
They finished a credible sixth when beaten only a length and a half by Woorim.
Their autumn was then interrupted by a hock injury which saw them spend 35 days on the sidelines, in turn missing a shot at the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.
After a close fourth to Rain Affair next start in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1100m) in their Sydney debut at Rosehill on March 31, Bel Sprinter then contested the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) but could only manage to finish ninth to Temple Of Boom.
Rested after The Galaxy they have now returned to work with Warren excited over their spring prospects.
“He will trot and canter under saddle for the first time on Monday and he’ll start back at the races three weeks out from the Manikato Stakes in a 1000 metre race,” Warren said on the weekend.
“That’s the target.”
Warren named the $150,000 Group 3 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday September 12 as the likely resuming run for Bel Sprinter ahead of the Manikato Stakes.
“He’ll have one jump-out leading into that,” he said.
“For his spell he was boxed at night and in the paddock each day. He looks tremendous – couldn’t be better.
“It’s a three month process bringing them back to the races and you’ve got to have your targets early and train them for it.”
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