Warhorses Unite for Winter Stakes Bid

Two veterans of Australian Racing will come together at Rosehill this Saturday as practiced hoop Rod Quinn takes the mount on rising eight-year-old Sniper’s Bullet in the Winter Stakes.

Sniper's Bullet

Sniper's Bullet is the 60kg topweight of the 2011 Winter Stakes field

Attracting a final field of 12, the $100,000 Listed Winter Stakes (1500m) is the penultimate black-type feature of the season in Sydney and is also the final run of the season for the Tracey Bartley-trained evergreen galloper Sniper’s Bullet.

Bite The Bullet gelding Sniper’s Bullet, a triple Group 1 winner, faces a tough Winter Stakes test on Saturday having been allocated the hefty top-weight of 60kg with Quinn to ride the champion for the first time.

Quinn may be new to Sniper’s Bullet’s saddle, but the hoop is no stranger to the winner’s circle having ridden more winners than any other Australian jockey in history and this is enough to quash any qualms Bartley may have had heading into the Winter Stakes.

“I haven’t spoken to him (Quinn) yet about the horse, but I will endeavour to do that this week,” Bartley said.

“We’ll both be at Grafton (on Thursday) so I’ll see him then.

“Robert is an old-fashioned rider and he (Sniper’s Bullet) doesn’t seem to mind that.

“He’ll ride him well, he’s a great rider and the horse worked really well on Tuesday morning.”

Sniper’s Bullet lines up for their 49th career start in the Winter Stakes, the $2.5 million earner coming off a fifth place finish in the Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on June 2 when ridden by Matthew Cahill at 60.5kg.

Heavyweight hoop Cahill was unavailable for the Winter Stakes ride, currently serving a careless riding suspension.

Their Sydney fifth to Little Surfer Girl came after a failed bid to score a second Stradbroke Handicap title, Sniper’s Bullet finishing a well-beaten 14th behind this year’s Stradbroke winner Sincero at Eagle Farm last month.

Bartley believes that Sniper’s Bullet can bounce back from their disappointing four-start winter campaign on Saturday, the increase from 1400 metres to 1500 metres to suit the weathered crusader.

“The 1500 metres suits him a bit better and we’ll just try and ride him the same sort of way, up on the speed,” Bartley said.

“He just got held up a touch as they straightened last start (in the Civic Stakes) when he needed to roll into it.

“Hopefully he (Quinn) can just get him out and get rolling on him, he’s not going to go dashing home but he’s going to keep going.”

Sniper’s Bullet hasn’t scored a turf triumph since his successful Group 1 Railway Stakes – Kingston Town Classic double during the 2009 Perth Summer Racing Carnival.

Other notable acceptors for the 2011 Winter Stakes include the Chris Waller-trained duo of Danehill Dancer five-year-old Altered Boy and Gigino who is second-up for the year, and Peter Snowden’s consistent Lonhro three-year-old Scarf.

2011 Myer Winter Stakes Final Field & Barriers

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp. Rating
1 00280X8505 SNIPER’S BULLET Tracey Bartley Rod Quinn 9 60kg 106
2 684L564248 ALTERED BOY Chris Waller Glyn Schofield 12 55.5kg 97
3 333X372X50 VIKING LEGEND Ross Simpson & Tracey Barnes Jeff Penza 10 54.5kg 95
4 05112111X6 GIGINO (NZ) Chris Waller Brenton Avdulla 1 53.5kg 93
5 X494065802 MADIBAGOLD David Payne Christian Reith 7 53kg 89
6 722269X163 KHAS KURA Peter Snowden Tommy Berry 11 53kg 88
7 248509X600 STRAT’S FLYER Anne-Maree Robinson Peter Wells 2 53kg 88
8 1121X4X119 SCARF Peter Snowden Kerrin McEvoy 8 53kg 87
9 06X9301553 BREAK CARD Gerald Ryan Nathan Berry 5 53kg 86
10 11247X6542 DEVILS ARCADE Gai Waterhouse Jason Collett (a) 4 53kg 86
11 03216X8158 EQUABLE Gerald Ryan Ibrahim Gundogdu (a) 3 53kg 84
12 0X90X50730 RECOUP DE FORTUNE Anthony Cummings Jay Ford 6 53kg 84