Bel Sprinter certainly caught the eye of breeding industry doyen, Brian Russell.
Bel Sprinter, the comfortable winner of the $100,000 United Arab Emirates Stakes over 1000m at Caulfield on Saturday, possesses much of the genes that threw up current sprinting world superqueen Black Caviar, and, also, it appears, nearly as good a turn of foot.
Both are by Bel Esprit, one of the best and most brilliant sons of the Nijinsky sire Royal Academy, and both have the outstanding influence Snippets in their immediate pedigrees. Snippets is the sire of Gavroche, the dam of Bel Sprinter, and of the grandam of Black Caviar.
It is safe to say that Bel Sprinter will never reach the exalted stature on the racecourse as Black Caviar, but he is shaping up as another star for Bel Esprit, one which could figure in the top sprints.
This 4YO gelding trained for his Victorian based breeder Glenn Bailey and seven others by Jason Warren at Mornington, has narrowly missed winning all his six starts.
Prior to Saturday’s effort, he won his first four, three of them in Melbourne and two from the front, and then led and got beaten into second by a long neck when favourite in the 18 runner Bobbie Lewis-G3 at Flemington on September 3. Those behind included Phelan Ready, Toorak Toff, Temple of Boom and Aloha.
Bel Sprinter’s dam Gavroche showed good speed at 1000m in provincial racing, her nine outings including a 1.8 lengths win at Bairnsdale, a short half head second at Mornington and two thirds, Sale and Cranbourne.
Gavroche is powerfully bred, being by Snippets and from American bred La Miserable, a daughter of the Mr. Prospector sire Miswaki and Miranda, a Forli mare out of Baronova, by Nijinsky from Tsessebe, by Buckpasser from Monarchy, a noted matriarch and sister to Round Table.
Bel Sprinter and 5YO Black Caviar are among over 270 winners of 700 races and earners of $22 million generated to date by the now 12-year-old Bel Esprit from his use at Victoria’s biggest breeding operation, Lee Fleming’s Eliza Park at Kerrie, a short trip west of Melbourne.
They include 13 stakes winners, nine others stakes placed and winners in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, Malaysia and Macau.
Bel Esprit is currently in the top 10 in the Australian national sires’ premiership by earnings, winners and wins for 2011-12 with 76 winners of 104 races and $3.1million and seems assured of capturing the Victorian champion sire title for the third successive year. In 2010-11, a year he was the fifth top sire on earnings for Australian racing, his Eliza Park sired foals world wide comprised 124 winners (112 in Australia) of 216 races (196) and $7,857,236 ($7,099,233). Black Caviar contributed $2,990,800 of the earnings, but 11 others were each in excess of $100,000.
The principal yearling market for the Bel Esprit progeny is the Inglis Melbourne sale, one to be held this year on February 27, 28, 29 and March 1. The 790 lots catalogue includes 39 by Bel Esprit and, all told, 122 by Eliza Park sires, including Statue of Liberty (USA) (24), Magnus (35) and Astronomer Royal (USA) (17).
Statue of Liberty is a brilliant son of Storm Cat with 235 winners from dual hemisphere use to his credit, including what is arguably Australia’s best male sprinter, Hay List; Magnus, oldest two, is an internationally performed sprinter who is nearly a three-quarter brother by Flying Spur to the dam of Black Caviar; and Astronomer Royal, oldest yearlings, is a Danzig champion French miler whose Group One efforts included a win in the French Two Thousand Guineas, third in the Ascot St James’s Palace Stakes and fourths in the Prix Jean Prat and Newmarket July Cup (a length).