Mick Bell has confidence apprentice Michael Poy can deliver again on the trainer’s popular sprinter Jungle Edge, this time in a weight-for-age Group Three race at Caulfield.
Poy is the only apprentice with a ride in Saturday’s Sir John Monash Stakes, in which apprentices cannot use their claims, but he has earned the chance on eight-year-old Jungle Edge having been unbeaten from two rides on the sprinter.
It will be Poy’s first ride in a Group race.
Poy won on Jungle Edge on Ballarat Cup day last November and then got back on the sprinter two starts ago at Sandown and again they led all the way to win a 1200m handicap.
Jungle Edge has won 16 of his 70 starts and amassed $1.38 million prize money but the eight-year-old gelding is yet to win in 10 starts at Caulfield despite being placed on five occasions including three times at stakes level.
Bell believes noted wet tracker Jungle Edge has rarely had favourable conditions at Caulfield but with a soft (6) rated track on race eve, and with the potential for more rain, he believes the gelding “ticks a lot of boxes” for Saturday’s race.
The track was a soft (6) when Jungle Edge finished fourth three starts ago in an 1100m handicap but Bell is convinced the gelding is at his best when he rolls along in front faster than he was allowed to that day.
“When he ran fourth at Caulfield a couple of starts back he just didn’t go fast enough,” Bell told RSN927.
“I don’t think that will be happening again.
“And the softer the track is, the less they are sitting poised to strike.
“I’m so confident about how Michael Poy rides him and rates him that I think he’ll be right in it.”
Jungle Edge has the widest barrier but Bell is not concerned.
“If you look at most of his wins, they’ve come from when he’s had wide barriers,” he said.
“I’m not worried about the wide barrier at all and I’m very happy with Michael Poy.
“I think with his dad (former jockey) Michael Clarke, I think they sit there watching videos all day because he knows more about the horse than I do.”
Jungle Edge finished third in the Winter Dash at Randwick on a heavy track last start and Bell said the gelding had returned from Sydney well.