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16/03/02 Slipper: Bel Esprit "Perfect" - Choisir Beaten
r6belesprit4.jpg (14188 bytes)Trainer John Symons has sent out a warning to rival trainers by declaring his Golden Slipper fancy Bel Esprit was "perfect" in the lead up to next Saturday's feature event at Rosehill.

Symons made the statement after watching Oronoko finish a handy second in the first race at Flemington today.

The optimism and shine in his eye when he told of the current state of his son of Royal Academy came even before boom Sydney colt Choisir suffered a shock defeat in Sydney.

While trackmen are renowned to over dramatise the strong work performed by a galloper in a lead up to a major race, Symons said the report on Bel Esprit's gallop during the week was "spot on."

"It was a sensational gallop," Symons beamed. "You would not have seen better work from any horse."

r6johnsymons.jpg (9910 bytes)"Track watchers said horses just don't work as well as what he (Bel Esprit) did," Symons said referring to the gallop in which the colt ran his final 400 metres in a blistering 22.25 seconds.

"And many thought he must have been up against the rail but he was actually between 14 and 15 metres out," Symons added.

Symons also added the colt came around the turn in great style and handed the Sydney circuit "with no problems at all."

"He's thriving in himself and I think he's better now heading into the Slipper than what he was heading into the Blue Diamond," Symons summed up.

Meanwhile, Bel Esprit's expected main opponent the Sydney colt Choisir has suffered a shock defeat in yesterday's TJF Group Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill.

r6belesprit3.jpg (10596 bytes)After being sent to the front of the field shortly after the start by Lenny Beasley the colt then began to hang off the track over the concluding 250 metres losing valuable ground. When the line was reached the last start Black Opal Stakes winner Planchet had cruised up on the colt's inside and nailed him to win by a nose.

The boom Innisfail gelding Strictly Smart was best of the rest finishing in third place.

PICS - Quentin Lang.

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