Mornington-based trainer Jason Warren is confident classy short distance specialist Bel Sprinter is a good chance of defending his 2013 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) title at Rosehill Gardens this weekend, but has acknowledged the weather may prove an issue for his stable’s star.
Having noticeably built in form when fourth in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) last time out following a less-than convincing return to the track, Warren said the Bel Esprit gelding has shown a blatant dislike for damp racing surfaces, and may also be affected by the current condition of the Rosehill track.
“He ran into a wet track in the Moir Stakes and didn’t really like it” Warren told AAP recently.
“Horse don’t seem to be making ground on it (Rosehill track), which is a concern.”
After commuting to Sydney to contest the Challenge Stakes two weeks ago, Warren revealed Bel Esprit has taken well to his temporary New South Wales home, and will hit the Galaxy in prime condition.
“He’s in terrific order. He’ll run a blinder on Saturday” Warren said.
Returning to the track in 2013 to surge from the back of the pack in the final straight and win The Galaxy first-up on March 30th, Bel Sprinter continued on to record one of the most consistent autumn preparations of any Australian runner, finishing third in the major Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) before closing an unlucky second to Lucky Nine in the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint 2013 (1200m) abroad in Singapore.
Unable to make much of an impact when 9th in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) first-up this preparation, Warren firmly believes the result will do more to help rather than hinder Bel Sprinter this season.
“He probably needed the first-up run in the Oakleigh Plate, being a year older” Warren said.
“The horse isn’t showing the brilliance he was last year but he’s carrying more weight.
“It’s hard to compare how he’s going, but I think he’s going pretty well.”
Warren has underlined the 2014 Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes as the major target for the talented six-year-old this season.
A final field and barrier draw for this weekend’s Group 1 The Galaxy is due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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