At eight years old the zip that made Sniper’s Bullet a multiple Group 1 champion is probably gone but there’s still enough about him to keep him competitive in decent company.
As he laboured through the Brisbane winter carnival last year many thought the horse may be retired but last start he showed some promise first up at Canterbury.
In a small field he settled at the back but worked home nicely to run third in the Listed Canterbury Classic.
What makes things hard for the horse is the big weight he’s given in handicaps thanks to his previous record.
He’s not up to weight for age anymore so finding suitable races is tricky for trainer Tracey Bartley.
Tomorrow though he feels he’s found one in race five on the Canterbury program over 1250m.
News Alert is also entered meaning Sniper’s Bullet won’t be the top weight, although he’s only one kilogram short of it on 61kg.
With the three kilo claim of Sam Clipperton that drops down to 58kgs and Bartley says this horse has more wins in him on the back of last week’s third placing.
“He ran terrific, we changed a couple of things in his program, doing a lot more swimming,” he said.
“He put his ears back and pinned down, he really came onto the line good.”
He says he wasn’t looking at this event previously but the inclusion of News Alert made it a viable option.
“He’s had a good fortnight, originally I wasn’t running him in this race,” he said.
“He’s done well, I’m sure he’ll race really well.”
The old boy doesn’t need a lot of work to stay fit and he’s just been pottering around the place throughout the week.
“He had one little light gallop on the course proper on Tuesday…just swum him since,” he said.
Bartley says the claim of Clipperton is a key aspect and he’s not losing a lot in ability by putting him on either.
“He’s riding good, credit to NSW Racing with all these boys coming through,” he said, with another three kilo apprentice Shaun Guymer on News Alert.
They tinkered with Sniper’s Bullet’s pattern last prep to try and shake him up a bit but this time it’ll be the traditional style of switching him off and letting him rip.
“We’re not riding him aggressive, we’re just going to ride him quite again,” he said.
“It’s a winnable race for him with the claim off his back, as long as there’s good speed I’m sure he’ll run well.”
The wide Canterbury track is expected to favour his style as might the wet surface with his record on soft ground not too bad.