McEwen Stakes winner Bel Sprinter is a short-priced favourite to back up his first-up win this weekend in the Group 2 2012 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
The Jason Warren-trained speedster got his spring off to a flyer in the McEwen Stakes and heads down the Flemington straight for the first time since last spring.
His two attempts at Flemington have resulted in a win last winter and a runner-up finish in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality in September.
The Manikato-bound five-year-old is $2.50 bookmaker.com.au favourite but faces a number of strong rivals including:
- Spirit Of Boom ($5.00): In-form Queensland sprinter who is third-up here after two solid hitouts. Went down by a head to We’re Gonna Rock in the Bobbie Lewis before finishing fourth from a wide barrier in the Shorts.
- Mid Summer Music ($7.00): The Peter Moody-trained mare is having her first start of the spring after a winter campaign that saw her claim Group 1 honours in the Stradbroke Handicap.
- King’s Rose ($7.00): The second Moody-trained mare in contention and also running first-up here. Is a classy mare on her day, having won at Group 1 level in New Zealand and placed in the top grade here on multiple occasions.
- Sistine Angel ($17.00): Also running first-up but will ahve to bounce back from her winter form where she was unplaced from three Group 1 starts in Brisbane.
Like many races this weekend, the Gilgai Stakes is one to follow looking towards bigger events, particularly the Manikato Stakes and the Patinack Farm Classic.
The very best of these will get their chance in the spring’s biggest sprints but those who fail to measure up will be left to fight it out at Group 2 and 3 level throughout the spring.
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