As the rain came down on Stony Creek, Mick Bell was hoping for more of the same when Jungle Edge aims to extend his dream run in the Group One All Aged Stakes at Randwick.
While Bell’s focus was understandably on Youiz Jane and McNulty during Monday’s meeting in country Victoria, this weekend’s Group One meeting in Sydney was never far from his thoughts with the star of his stable to seek a maiden Group One triumph.
Jungle Edge has already supplied priceless relief as Bell adjusts to training without his wife Beverley by his side, and now the six-year-old gelding has an opportunity to cash in on Saturday in just the third Group One start of a 35-race career.
The All Aged Stakes (1400m) field is confirmed on Wednesday but Bell is confident Jungle Edge will be included, and is capable of backing up his last-start win in the Group Three Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 25.
“He’s had a little bit of time between runs and he’s won over 1400 before,” Bell said, before watching Youiz Jane and McNulty run fourth and seventh respectively at Stony Creek.
The Cranbourne trainer has also nominated Jungle Edge for the Group Three Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) but the preference is a Group One berth.
“We’re going to have a crack. We’re in form,” he said, happy the track was classified as heavy with more rain forecast on Wednesday.
“Obviously they’re hard to win but even running a place would be really nice. We’re enjoying the ride. The horse seems to be going better and better and better.
“The key to him is he needs a soft 5 or heavier. The heavier the better.”
After running third in the Group One Galaxy, Jungle Edge won the Star Kingdom Stakes by two lengths on a wet track, the perfect outcome after Bell lost Beverley to breast cancer two months ago.
Luxbet.com.au has Jungle Edge rated a $17 chance with the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained TJ Smith Stakes runner-up English the joint $4.60 favourite alongside Black Heart Bart trained by Darren Weir.
Bell was encouraged that Jungle Edge won over 1400m at Sandown last August and disregarded a distant last in the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over the same distance at Caulfield a month later on a good surface.
“His only bad races were on tracks I should have scratched on,” he said.
Other horses nominated for both the All Aged Stakes and Hall Mark Stakes are Counterattack, Famous Seamus, Flamberge and Voodoo Lad.