Bel Sprinter trainer Jason Warren sets sights on Hong Kong Sprint
For most young trainers on the rise, attacking a race like the S$1 million (HK$6.23 million) KrisFlyer International Sprint on Sunday would be a target in itself but Melbourne-based Jason Warren is already looking beyond the Singapore feature to Sha Tin in December.
Warren, 37, is an up-and-coming name in Australia and Bel Sprinter has been the horse to hoist him above the crowd, despite, or perhaps because of, the gelding becoming a poster child for modern veterinary science.
"Last year, he was racing all right in the good races at home without winning one, but was only getting half his oxygen," Warren said yesterday at Kranji, after overseeing a testing final gallop. "He needed throat surgery and sometimes they don't go the right way after those kinds of operations, so it was a gamble. But it has definitely improved him. The first day he worked after it, we knew he was just a different horse with a lungful of air. He's one of the success stories."
Bel Sprinter has had only two runs since surgery and his barnstorming win in The Galaxy at Rosehill in March was one of the biggest Group One sprint wins anywhere in the past 12 months. When he followed that with a strong third to champion Black Caviar at Randwick, the passports of horse and trainer were effectively stamped to look further afield.
"This is his first time out of Australia and on the evidence of this trip, you'd say he handles it well," Warren said. "Coming here wasn't a huge exercise - about 12 hours door to door - but he has done it terrifically well. He lost just a couple of kilos on the flight, put it back on in the next two days and I even felt I had to do some faster work with him today because he's almost doing too well. He was very fit when he got on the plane, so I hadn't expected to do a lot here but he's thriving."
It all augurs well for later in the year and a major assignment in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint.
"This is a big race in itself in Singapore, but it was also a trip to see how he would cope with it all because I'd love to have a crack at the Hong Kong Sprint with him," Warren said. "He's done everything right so far. If he performs well on Sunday, I think he'd be the right horse to take anywhere. We wouldn't overtax him in Melbourne beforehand - the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley, maybe with a run either side - and Hong Kong would be his main target."