Damien Oliver says Bel Sprinter has plenty in his favour in the Moir Stakes as the jockey looks to make his mark at Group One level for the first time since his return from a ban for betting.
Bel Sprinter enters Friday night’s 1200m weight-for-age clash at Moonee Valley armed with a perfect fresh record and with two wins from three attempts at the track.
Oliver – winner of 97 Group Ones – returned this month from a 10-month ban and is after his first Group One win since the Emirates Stakes last spring.
He rode Bel Sprinter in a solo gallop at Moonee Valley on Monday and also in a pleasing trial at Cranbourne recently.
“He’s a very good horse, he goes well fresh and he loves the Valley so he’s got a bit going for him,” Oliver said.
Bel Sprinter, who has barrier one, is one of four Group One winners in the field of 10 while classy sprinters Buffering and Snitzerland are chasing a breakthrough win at racing’s elite level.
Buffering won the Moir last year when it was a Group Two and has placed nine times in Group Ones.
Snitzerland opened $4 favourite with Bel Sprinter at $4.20 and Buffering $4.60.
But it didn’t take long for Buffering to assume favouritism at $4.40 with Snitzerland and Bel Sprinter at $4.60 and Epaulette at $5.
Trainer Gerald Ryan said Snitzerland travelled well to Melbourne.
“She’s a seasoned traveller now and she’s been to Moonee Valley once for a win,” he said.
Bel Sprinter’s trainer Jason Warren says the Manikato Stakes second-up is Bel Sprinter’s “grand final” but says he’s definitely forward enough to win on Friday.
Bel Sprinter, however, has never resumed over 1200m with his first-up wins all over shorter distances.
“The 1200 is probably not his pet distance, I think he’s definitely better over a bit shorter, but he’s got an explosive turn of foot as we’ve seen in the past and I’d expect him to still run well on Friday,” Warren said.