World stage awaits Sniper's Bullet
Tracey Bartley has revealed plans to campaign Sniper’s Bullet overseas following his devastating wins in the Railway and Kingston Town Stakes in Perth.
The gelding had failed in his previous attempts beyond 1600 metres but at Ascot on Saturday he had no problem running out the 1800 metres of the Group One Kingston Town with Damien Oliver in the saddle.
Sniper’s Bullet beat Perth galloper God Has Spoken by almost two lengths and relegated Mackinnon Stakes winner Scenic Shot to third.
The performance has opened up a new world of possibilities for connections, who will now consider races beyond a mile for the triple Group One winner.
"It’s a whole new ball game now, we can think about the longer races," Bartley said.
"Damien Oliver was adamant he would run 2000 metres."
Among the options Bartley will consider is the Dubai Duty Free (1777m) on March 27.
But first, a Melbourne campaign awaits.
Sniper’s Bullet will leave Perth on Tuesday and head to Melbourne where he will be spelled for up to a month before being prepared for the Group One Futurity Stakes (1600m) at Caulfield on February 27.
Pending his performance in that, he could head to Dubai or to Flemington for the Australian Cup.
"If he’s going super we might have a look at that race in Dubai over 1777 metres, or press on to the Australian Cup over 2000 metres," Bartley said.
"A couple of guys said I should think about the race in Dubai and they might be right.
"He’d be up running in the first three and they don’t seem to be able to run them down over there."
The Tony Vasil-trained Elvstroem, also an on-pace runner, won the Duty Free in 2005 while champion mare Sunline was third in the corresponding event four years earlier.
Bartley has no doubt the key to Sniper’s Bullet’s purple patch of form has been the decision to ride him on the pace.
He also believes the six-year-old has matured and become stronger with time.
The Kingston Town was his sixth run this preparation and Bartley said his charge came through the win without a hiccup.
"He’s terrific, you wouldn’t know he went around," he said.
"He came through it better than he did a year ago (when third to Niconero), I think because he is 12 months older, tougher."
Sniper’s Bullet has now campaigned in four Australian states winning Group Ones in Queensland and Western Australia and being placed in Group events in NSW and Victoria.
The Perth carnival has been a particularly heady ride
"I’m drained now but it’s been a great experience," Bartley said.
"We’re over the moon."
By Mandy Cottell