Short distance Star Bel Sprinter is poised to make a return to the track for the first time in 2014 in this weekend’s Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and trainer Jason Warren is confident the Bel Esprit gelding is capable of repeating the heroics that saw a first-up win at Group 1 level in 2013.
Claiming the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) by nearly three and a half lengths ahead of Snitzerland and Decision Time on that occasion, Bel Sprinter will return to the favourable distance of 1100m for the first time having contested five proceeding events no shorter than 1200m.
Despite registering as a favourite amongst punters for all three events he contested over the 2013 spring, Bel Sprinter was unable to secure even a single placing; something Warren has somewhat put down to fatigue, but more-so less-than-ideal running distances.
“I think 1100m is his sweet spot” Warren told AAP.
He would sooner prefer 1000 metres on a turning track than 1200 down the straight.
“I just think 100 and 1100 metres are definitely his go because he gets that solid tempo in those races and can relax and the show the turn of foot that he’s got.”
After returning to the track in a Cranbourne barrier trial to finish fourth after a somewhat shaky start, Bel Sprinter has clearly shaken off all cobwebs when claiming a resounding first ahead of fellow Oakleigh Plate hopefuls Kuroshio and Flamberge in a follow-up trial last tuesday.
Jockey Matthew Allen partnered Bel Sprinter in the second trial for usual rider Michael Rodd, and was reportedly impressed by the strong form of the gelding.
“Matt actually rode Bel Sprinter this time last year heading towards Sydney and he felt he was going every bit as good” Warren added.
A total of 20 horses have been nominated for the 2014 Oakleigh Plate, for which Bel Sprinter has been allocated the top weight of 58kgs, with a final field of 18 due to be released tomorrow, Wednesday 19th.
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