Mick Bell and Jade Darose with Jungle Edge

Trainer Mick Bell and jockey Jade Darose with Jungle Edge (Image: Racing Photos)

'Changing of the guard' for Bell

This weekend will be a chance for Jungle Edge's trainer Mick Bell to show off the future of his training operation with two young horses to make their debuts at The Valley.

Two-year-old colt Asternishing will line up in the $500,000 Inglis Banner on Saturday, while three-year-old Toronasaurus Rex will have his first start in the $135,000 Sweeney Estate Agents Handicap on Friday night.

Bell bought Asternishing as a yearling for a mere $7500, so a debut win on Saturday would be a massive return on investment.

"We couldn't believe we picked him up so cheaply," Bell said. "We wanted to buy four horses at the sales and he was one of the ones I kept and sold to my own clients. For them to get a run in the Inglis Banner series is a real thrill."

According to Bell, the two-year-old Astern colt should run well in the 1000-metre race.

"He's had three trials and trialed very well," Bell said. "We do think he'll be a better horse over a bit more ground, though."

The stable is just as confident ahead of Toronasaurus Rex's debut in the 1000-metre three-year-old handicap on Friday night.

"He's won a few trials and he's a very promising horse we think," Bell said. "We're probably throwing him in the deep end a little bit, but we think he can handle it. We can always go to something easier if that's what it turns out we have to do, but we're confident he'll run really well."

Ten-year-old stable star Jungle Edge will also run this weekend, in the 955-metre Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Handicap on Saturday, provided the forecast rain arrives and gives him the wet track he loves.

"I wasn't really wanting to run so quickly after last weekend so he will only run if it's a rain-affected track," Bell said.

"Toronasaurus Rex would prefer it to be on the drier side [on Friday night] so after his race we hope it keeps raining like crazy. I'm not asking much am I?"

Jungle Edge is coming off a second-last placing in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) last Saturday.

Having young horses is a new experience for Bell, who attributes his confidence to take the chance with them on his success with Jungle Edge.

"I've got the horsemanship experience but before, I always dealt more with secondhand horses and went to all the country meetings that I love," Bell said. "It is a changing of the guard.

"Jungle Edge has given me the exposure and opportunity to have a crack at some nicely bred young horses and given me the opportunity to roll the dice."