By Brad Gray
Jungle Edge is one of the best wet trackers in the country so the rain falling on Thursday night will be music to the ears of Mick Bell ahead of Saturday’s $200,000 Group Two Missile Stakes (1200m).
The Cranbourne-based trainer has been overseas for six weeks visiting Greece, Chantilly in France and Newmarket in England so both horse and trainer will be fresh ahead of Royal Randwick.
“After the Stradbroke I sent Jungle Edge to Aquis Farm in Queensland. Even though he was having a spell he was on the water walker and swimming. It was like a working holiday. We just kept him ticking over,” Bell said.
“I would have preferred to have given him a trial before I ran him but this horse is so weather dependant. He doesn’t have to have a heavy track but he certainly needs softer tracks.”
Jungle Edge, who has spent the last couple of weeks with Gerald Ryan at Rosehill, might be eight weeks between runs but that won’t see Bell changing tactics with his high-rolling seven-year-old.
“The way to run this horse is to let him stride along. He doesn’t seem to worry him if other horses take him on. It’s usually to their detriment, not his, but whether that tells in the finish who knows,” Bell said.
“He might knock up but he needs to run to know where we are at. The class part doesn’t worry me. Although Le Romain is a great horse, none of these races are ever easy.”
Bell, who worked as a farrier at Randwick some 10 years ago, has pencilled in the Warwick Stakes on August 19 as Jungle Edge’s second-up assignment where he’ll meet a formidable rival.
“If he runs well, we’d look at running him in a couple of weeks against Winx. There is another race on that day we could run in (Show County Quality) but if the weather starts to fine up too much he would probably come back home,” Bell said.
“We’re not frightened to run second to Winx. That’d be great.
“We have won two Group Threes and been Group One-placed three times but really, he is a second stringer. However, on a really wet track we’re as good as anything.”