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Up-and-coming Victorian trainer Jason Warren is confident 2013 autumn stand-out performer Bel Sprinter can figure in the dying stages of this weekend’s Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick, despite featuring as a rank outsider in betting markets for the Group 2 event.
Unable to make any impact when ninth in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) first-up on February 22nd, Warren told TVN he believes the drop in distance and wide barrier will suit the talented Bel Esprit gelding to a tee on Saturday.
“The wide gate is perfect; he can go in late, stalk them and finish down the outside” Warren said this morning.
“The horse travelled up here really well, did his final piece of work yesterday and worked well and he’s just spot-on.
“This race is tailor made for him.”
Having accepted alongside one of the day’s most well-trialled and talented fields, Warren said the race will be a great indicator of Bel Sprinter’s form ahead of what is shaping as a particularly busy autumn and winter campaign.
“It’s a great race; there are all there, so we’ll really find out how well he’s going” he said.
“I don’t think Buffering is going to get it as easy here as he can do over 1200 metres, mind you, he’s always tough to run over – we all know that.”
While yet to confirm a certain path for Bel Sprinter this preparation, Warren said at this point almost anything relevant is possible.
“The T.J. Smith is still four weeks away so he’s got to run in something else before we get to that race.”
“We could always throw a set of blinkers on him and run in the Galaxy in two-weeks’ time after Saturday.”
While unable to reach full potential over the spring of 2013, Bel Sprinter was easily one of the most consistent autumn contestants, claiming the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) first-up before finishing an unlucky third in the T.J. Smith Stakes and closing the memorable season a competitive second to Lucky Nine in the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint 2013 (1200m) abroad in Singapore.
Bel Sprinter is currently tied-fourth favourite for 2014 Challenge Stakes success at a particularly generous quote of $14, behind Buffering ($2.90), Snitzerland ($3.20) and market mover Sessions ($5).
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