Another huge day at the office for Victoria’s Champion Sire with Work The Room becoming Bel Esprit’s 12th stakes winner and Bel Sprinter maintaining his unbeaten record with a resounding win at headquarters.
WORK THE ROOM
There are few more deserving black type winners than the Robert Heathcote trained Work The Room.
Originally with Colin Little at Caulfield, the Bel Esprit flyer won his first two outings – at Ballarat and Sandown – but was then off the scene for 15 months, resuming with a second at Geelong after striking a ton of trouble.
Work The Room won again at Sandown last September and produced a game second at Flemington on New Year’s Day but was tipped out shortly after and was then transferred to Heatchote where he ran third at Doomben as favourite.
Despite failing to salute in three subsequent runs, he was back to his best in the Tattersall’s Mile-LR at Eagle Farm on Saturday, racking up the even dozen for Bel Esprit.
“Look, this is a very good horse and I think a lot of people dropped off a bit too quickly,” Heathcote said. “He had problems when he came here from Melbourne and it has been a matter of working them out. It was a big decision by the owners to send him here and I think it will prove the right move.”
Heathcote said he is looking to step Work The Room, a half brother to multiple Group One winner Zipping, up in distance: “There is a 2100 metre open handicap here in a fortnight which will suit him. Melbourne is probably off the agenda at this stage because of the timing. But you can take it as read that there is a very good race in this horse.”
A $160,000 Inglis Easter yearling, Work the Room – from the Grand Lodge mare Social Scene and bred by Eddie Hayson (also owner of Group One winner and stallion Wanted) – has now won four and placed on five occasions from 13 starts.
It’s difficult to keep the excitement in check when a horse like Bel Sprinter lobs on the scene.
Kicking off with a win just after Christmas – over 1000m at Mornington – Bel Sprinter resumed with a solid victory at the Valley (coming from near last on the turn) before grinding out a solid score in the King Island Dairy Handicap (1100m) at headquarters on Saturday, racing on the speed throughout. Three from three!
And it looks now as if the 3YO – from the Snippets mare Gavroche – will be targeting the $125,000 Aurie’s Star Handicap-G3 (1200m) on 6 August.
Not surprisingly, trainer Jason Warren has a huge opinion of Bel Sprinter: “He was a bit fired up prior to the race today and I was a bit worried be might overrace.
“Benny (Melham) just kept him where he was comfortable, (but) I thought he might have pushed the button a little bit early. I wouldn’t like to have it all over again.
“He’s done a terrific job. He’s only a baby, he doesn't know what he’s doing and he was in front a long way out. They had their chance to get to him today: full credit to the horse.
“I aim pretty high with all of my horses and where I finish up is a different story usually. He might be the horse, he can’t do anymore than what he has done.
“Since we gave him his first jump-out I was very confident of the horse’s ability and it is good to see him putting it on the form now.”
Jockey Ben Melham has ridden Bel Sprinter (pictured below) in all of his three starts and feels there is more to come: “He jumped and put himself there and I was concerned about that because he was travelling quite strong,” Melham said. “It was a good effort.
“He is best suited ridden with a bit of a sit. As circumstances panned out he ended up there [the front]. If he can get back and mature a bit mentally and learn how to relax more he is going to win decent races for sure.
“When the penny drops with him he is going to become quite a nice horse.”