13 talented sprinters are set to tackle the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth this Saturday, after the final field was released Monday afternoon. Of those 13, six have made the journey from the eastern states.
Bel Sprinter is among the contingent of horses that flew over to Perth last Friday and the seven-year-old gelding’s trainer Jason Warren couldn’t be happier with his current condition, noting he has done everything right since his arrival.
“I’m really happy with him,” Warren told Sky Racing.
“He had his final gallop last Thursday before he left.
“He will just have a bit of striding work on Wednesday which will pretty much be him until the race.”
Bel Sprinter enjoyed a successful autumn racing carnival in 2013 after winning the Group 1 Galaxy (1100m) and finishing in the first three in both the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 International Sprint (1200m).
However after four months off, the gelding couldn’t recapture this success in the spring or the following autumn. The defending champion finished outside the placings in both the 2014 Galaxy and 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes.
He recorded his first win in almost 18 months his first time out this spring in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m), running a dead heat alongside Miracles Of Life. He then finished sixth to Deep Field in the Group 2 Tab.com.au Stakes (1200m) after a series of mishaps. Standing flat footed in the gates, Bel Sprinter missed the start by five lengths before losing a shoe in the final stages of the race.
Warren is confident the run was a one-off and the gelding will be fighting fit come Saturday.
“He threw a shoe off on Derby Day in the last couple of hundred metres which shortened his stride a bit,” Warren said.
“His late sectionals were excellent after missing the start and his foot is fine now.”
With Bel Sprinter’s condition in tip-top shape, the only thing that could advantage or disadvantage the seven-year-old’s run is out of Warren’s control – the barrier draw. The trainer is hoping for a middle to outside draw so the gelding has clear galloping room.
“Ideally I don’t want to see anything inside of five or six,” he said.
Bel Sprinter is an $11 shot in the Winterbottom Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, led by Angelic Light at $3.
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