Softer track sees Jungle Edge get back to its best

Jungle Edge horse
Jungle Edge scored a memorable win for trainer Mick Bell at Sandown when taking out the Kevin Heffernan Stakes. Photo:

AN emotional Mick Bell has paid tribute to seven-year-old gelding Jungle Edge, which overturned a poor run of form to take out the Kevin Heffernan Stakes at Sandown.

Jumping out to an early lead, the son of Dubawi sustained the speed at the head of affairs and withstood a late charge to return $10.80 at Sportsbet.

Outsider Casino Wizard closed late to deliver $4.40 for William Hill customers while Thronum ($1.80 Crownbet) rounded out the placings.

The win for Jungle Edge was a stark turnaround of form for the gelding, which had been struggling prior to Saturday’s win.

The horse had not finished better than fifth in its last six races, including four failures to finish inside the first half of the field.

The trainer was effusive about the gelding’s race in the aftermath of the event.

“(He’s) a very, very special horse,” Bell said.

Bell said the win was a sentimental one for him and his family.

“We’ve all that we’ve had happen last year, losing my wife, and actually the last time he raced here she was here, so it’s very special.”

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It was Jungle Edge’s 12th win from 44 starts and Bell said the horse “doesn’t know how to lose”, and benefited greatly from the softer Sandown track.

“Even when he gets beat, it’s not because he gave up. He just doesn’t like hard tracks.

“He raced here last year … it ended up drying out and being a Good 3, and if you watch the replay you can see him running about all over the joint, it was hurting him but he was still trying.

“I was always confident he was going to end up in the first three … but he doesn’t quicken at the end, he just keeps finding which is just a sign of the horse, he just tries to so hard.

“All accolades to the horse, he’s our champion.”

It what is likely to be the final race of the horse’s preparation, Bell said it was a last-minute decision to put Jungle Edge into the race based on the rainfall during the week.

“With the way the weather pattern was I didn’t think I’d get this run out of him,” he said.

“He had a week where he was finished the campaign and last Saturday afternoon we looked at the weather forecast and it looked like the rain was really coming.

“When we got back from the Balnarring races we put the saddle on him and trotted him around for a bit.”

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