A throat operation has transformed Bel Esprit (Royal Academy – Bespoken, by Vain) gelding Bel Sprinter (Bel Esprit – Gavroche, by Snippets) from a classy performer to a world class sprinter after he became the first Group 1 winner for Mornington trainer Jason Warren in The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill.
Bel Sprinter had enough talent to win six of his first 13 starts, including the Group 3 McEwen Stakes (1000m) and two Listed events, but Warren said an underlying issue prevented his charge from performing at his best.
“I’ve got to pay credit to my vets. This horse has had throat surgery, they’ve fixed him up. He was getting half as much air as he needed,” he said.
Bel Sprinter showed the effects of his laser surgery with his devastating performance. However, barrier problem child was slow away in the Galaxy, showing surgery can’t help all persistent problems.
A remarkably fast pace countered any obstacles the slow beginning presented as Bel Sprinter was able to get to the outside from the 600 metres in a strung-out field.
Bel Sprinter lethal acceleration enabled him to descend on the front-runners passing the 200 metres. Jockey Kerrin McEvoy was able to enjoy the ride to the line as Bel Sprinter had the $355,000 won 100 metres from home before the pair thumped a hot field of speedsters by 3-1/4 lengths to give the young team its first Group 1 victory.
“I know how good he is,” Warren said. “But he has been very frustrating at times.
“It’s just such a relief because he has had a lot of problems but he has always shown that he is capable of this.
“I wasn’t too worried at the start because he does that all the time. That was unbelievable. In these big races he always misses the start. Kerrin (McEvoy) just played it cool before getting to the outside and letting rip.
“I was disappointed we couldn’t run in the Oakleigh Plate. I know how good he is first-up. We’ve set him for this.”
Warren said Bel Sprinter would stay in Sydney to take on another of Bel Esprit’s famous progeny when he meets unbeaten champion Black Caviar in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 13.
Bel Sprinter’s latest win earned a $215,000 winner’s cheque for connections, taking his earnings to more than $640,000 and also justified Warren’s decision to buy Bel Sprinter’s brother for $140,000 at the 2012 Magic Millions Yearling Sale at the Gold Coast.
Bel Sprinter became the third Group 1 winner for Eliza Park’s Bel Esprit, joining Black Caviar and Bel Mer as progeny of the sire to have won at the top level.
Kitchwin Hills will offer the only progeny of Bel Esprit to go under the hammer at the upcoming Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale when a filly out of My Broken Drum (Slickly – Silent Heir, by Sunday Silence) enters the ring as lot 225.