Tracey Bartley’s veteran Queensland galloper Sniper’s Bullet showed they had plenty of racing left in their old legs with an eye-catching stakes placing on the weekend, and having repelled retirement plans for now, will be targeted at the riches of the upcoming 2012 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The three-time Group 1 winning Bite The Bullet eight-year-old was impressive when crossing three lengths away third to winner Unanimously ($4.40) and the second placed Eight Bills ($15) in the $100,000 Listed Canterbury BMW Classic (1100m) on Friday night.
Going out as the $41 roughie Sniper’s Bullet was able to work their way from the back of the field to beat home the likes of the $3.70 favourite News Alert, the Jan Bowen-trained Jest Crewsin’ and recent Rosehill winner Mrs Onassis in the black-type feature.
“That’s what I wanted to see,” Bartley said of Sniper’s Bullet’s run.
“He needed to find the line.”
Also impressed with the performance was jockey Christian Reith riding the popular Sniper’s Bullet for the first time.
“He ran fantastic,” Reith said.
“There’s some life in the old fella’s legs yet.
“They didn’t know what to expect going into the race but he attacked the line like a tiger.”
It was the first time Sniper’s Bullet had run top three in a race since their second to Rothera in the Group 3 Betfair Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield back in October of 2010 during a three-run campaign under the preparation of Robert Smerdon.
At the peak of their career Sniper’s Bullet, who has earned over $2.6 million in prize money over their 51-start career to date, won the 2007 Stradbroke Handicap as a three-year-old in Brisbane before failing at their next two attempts in the race.
They recorded a plethora of Group 1 placings before in the summer of 2009 they secured the Group 1 Railway Stakes – Kingston Town Classic double over in WA.
While realistic about their chances of ever winning at elite level again, Sniper’s Bullet’s latest Group 1 effort being a 14th to Sincero in last year’s Stradbroke, Bartley does hope her stable favourite will see the inside of a winner’s stall again before bowing out.
“We’ve done a couple of things differently with him, so we might get him back,” Bartley said optimistically.
Mudgee-based Bartley has the $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on February 11 during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival 2012 scheduled for Sniper’s Bullet’s next-up assignment.
“He pulled up terrific from Friday night,” Bartley said.
“He’ll probably go to the Expressway now.
“That gives me three weeks to keep him nice and fresh again.”
Bartley said the key to keeping Sniper’s Bullet racing had been regular swimming and hock injections.
“I’ll just keep him swimming (between now and the Expressway),” Bartley said.
Reith will keep the ride for the Expressway, something the hoop said he was looking forward to.
“I get another chance in the Expressway and I’m looking forward to getting on his back again,” he said.
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