It’s always great to see a top performer return to the main stage – especially at this time of year – and Bel Esprit’s flyer, Bel Sprinter, didn’t disappoint in winning the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
And, as TVN’s Adrian Dunn, points out – he did it in near record time …
Relief is how an emotional Jason Warren described the first up win of Bel Sprinter in the McEwen Stakes (1000 m) at Moonee Valley today.
Warren admitted he was nervous leading into the $150,000 Group Three race given the series of small setbacks endured by Bel Sprinter.
“It’s tough bringing horses back from little set backs. I’ve just had to roll with the punches,” Warren said.
“It’s been one small thing after another rather than a big thing. It’s just a big relief.”
Bel Sprinter’s comeback was put on hold for a couple of weeks after the horse suffered a hoof abscess, but the gelding showed he was right back to his best as he stopped the clock just outside Miss Andretti’s track record.
The five-year-old clocked 57.32 seconds, which was 0.10 seconds outside Miss Andretti’s time.
Bel Sprinter, backed from $3 to $2.90, scored by a half length from Platelet (a stakes winner at Caulfield in July), with a neck to Snitzem in third.
Warren said Bel Sprinter will now head to Flemington on October 6 for the $220,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m), but the main goal is the Group One $750,000 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on Friday, October 26.
“The Manikato has been my goal all the way through, Moonee Valley suits him. He’ll go to Flemington in three weeks and it will top him off for the Manikato.”
Jockey Ben Melham described Bel Sprinter as a horse with a “good cruising speed” with the potential to win a Group One.