Sniper's Bullet weighted fairly in Villiers
Group One winner Sniper’s Bullet is expected to be asked to carry what trainer Tracey Bartley says will be “a fair weight” in the Villiers Stakes.
After speaking to Racing NSW handicappers, Bartley confirmed Sniper’s Bullet would continue his campaign in the $200,000 Group Two race at Randwick on Saturday.
Sniper’s Bullet arrived in Sydney late last week after being flown from Perth to Melbourne after competing in two Group One races in the west.
“I haven’t seen the horse yet but from all reports he is in good order,” Bartley said.
“All going well, he’ll run in the Villiers.”
“Obviously he’ll be assessed during the week and he’ll do pacework at Hawkesbury on Thursday but I can’t see any reason not to run him.
“The indication that I have been given from the handicappers is that he’ll get 58 (kilograms), maybe 58.5.
“That’s a fair weight in my book, although he wouldn’t want anymore because he hasn’t won for more than 12 months.”
Villiers weights will be released on Tuesday.
The summer feature will return to 1600m on Saturday after being run at 1400 in January this year when the NSW racing schedule was thrown out of kilter because of the equine influenza outbreak.
While Utzon carried 57.5kg to win the Villiers when it was last run over 1600m in 2006, lightweights have dominated the race over the past decade.
Sniper’s Bullet was placed in the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town Classic in a two-start Perth campaign.
But the five-year-old hasn’t won since ploughing through the mud to claim the 2007 Stradbroke Handicap.
“It’s been a while but you have put everything into context,” Bartley said.
“He’s raced at the elite level all the way through since the Stradbroke.”
Bartley said his decision to continue Sniper’s Bullet’s campaign at a time when most elite horses are spelling or just returning to work, was based on the galloper’s modest spring workload.
“Although he’s been everywhere this time in he hasn’t been what you would call `hammered’,” Bartley said.
“He’s only had five runs and he didn’t start racing again until the middle of October.”
Sydney jockey Jim Cassidy, who rode Sniper’s Bullet into third placing in the Kingston Town Classic, retains the ride in the Villiers.
Sniper’s Bullet was one of 21 nominations for the Villiers which has a field limit of 20.
By Warwick Barr