Star: Bel Sprinter (left) easily wins the Galaxy in Sydney last autumn. Photo: Jenny Evans
Jason Warren is banking on a champion jockey with a point to prove as the key to success this spring with Bel Sprinter, who resumes in the group 1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
And Warren will be looking for redemption of his own later this spring when Bel Sprinter lines up for a return bout with Hong Kong star Lucky Nine, his conqueror in the International Sprint in Singapore in May.
Warren has booked Damien Oliver to take the reins of his stable star and knows the champion jockey is searching for that headline performer to carry him back to the top of the game after a long suspension.
He's crossing his fingers that Bel Sprinter is the horse Oliver has been looking for.
"He's certainly got his eye in, hasn't he?'' Warren said of Oliver's recent return to riding. ''He's come back in great shape and you can see he knows he has a point to prove.''
Oliver has partnered Bel Sprinter once, when he finished down the track in last year's Patinack Classic at Flemington. Subsequent veterinary examinations proved Bel Sprinter had literally choked under pressure.
The jockey knew that corrective surgery had been successful when he watched Bel Sprinter annihilate a classy field in the group 1 Galaxy at Rosehill in April, with confirmation coming in recent trackwork.
"He's breathing much better now,'' Oliver said. ''He was making a lot of noise with his breathing and certainly wasn't getting sufficient air down to his lungs. His airways are much clearer since he's had that operation.
"I think that's why he was so good at 1000 metres. He'd get the speed on but could get back and relax and breathe all right, but when he got up to 1200 metres and the pace came out of the race, that's when he may have been choking down."
Despite a perfect first-up record from five starts, Warren says that Bel Sprinter will have something up his sleeve for the group1 Manikato Stakes on October 25.
"The Manikato is our grand final and that's when he will be peaking. I'm looking forward to racing Lucky Nine again on our terms … on our turf this time and not in a humid, heat environment like Singapore.''