2014 Oakleigh Plate First-Up for Bel Sprinter

Jason Warren’s talented speedster Bel Sprinter will be out to score another Group 1 title, this time in their home state, as they are prepared for a first-up run in the Oakleigh Plate 2014 this Melbourne Festival of Racing.

Bel Sprinter

Bel Sprinter will shoot for their maiden Group 1 Melbourne win first-up in the 2014 Oakleigh Plate. Photo: Steve Hart.

In the autumn of 2012 the consistent sprinter ran in the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield second-up off a resuming win at the track in February.

They could only manage to run sixth to the Rob Heathcote-trained Woorim however, albeit defeated only one and a half lengths.

Bel Sprinter eventually broke their Group 1 maiden first-up at Rosehill this March when they put an easy three and a half lengths on exciting filly Snitzerland in the The Galaxy (1100m).

From there they were third behind the mighty Black Caviar in Randwick’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) before heading overseas.

They made their international debut at Singapore’s Kranji Racecourse when surprising many with their second behind Hong Kong hero Lucky Nine in the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m).

Back home for the spring Bel Sprinter failed to match the same heights with three unplaced runs.

Their latest start was a distant eighth behind Queensland champion Buffering in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Their Mornington-based trainer Warren however hasn’t given up hope of a return to form and another Group 1 trophy when they run first-up in the Oakleigh Plate on February 22 which is also the target for promising Queensland Better Than Ready.

Bel Sprinter is back in work ahead of the Oakleigh and Warren knows there were excuses for their poor spring preparation that also included a sixth to Buffering, defeated a length, in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).

“There’s not a single Group 1 at less than 1200m and the Moir Stakes (where they ran sixth) was run on a rain-affected track this year which also didn’t help him,” Warren told Racing Victoria this week.

“The Manikato was his target race in the spring and he ran well, but he drew barrier one and it just didn’t suit him.

“We really want to win a Group 1 in Melbourne with him and the Oakleigh Plate looks the right race.

“Going on the weights in the past few years he’ll probably get around 57 to 58kg. It’s a race with high pressure where he can get back and run-on, that’s his go.

“He’s just back in pre-training. He’s had a week-and-a-half of trot and canter so far and he is doing really well.”

After their Oakleigh return Bel Sprint is likely to head north for the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.

There they will run second-up in the $175,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 15 before having another go at The Galaxy – TJ Smith Stakes double.

Their $350,000 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) title defense would take place on March 29 while the $1 million TJ Smith Stakes is scheduled for April 12.

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