Sirbible will face the toughest test of his career to date in the 2016 Australia Stakes, but trainer Russell Bell is confident that his star galloper is a genuine winning chance in the Group 2 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Bell elected to bring Sirbible from the Northern Territory to Melbourne for a summer campaign and the decision paid dividends when the tough sprinter recorded a narrow victory in the Vic Wide Towing Handicap (1200m) at Moonee Valley on December 4.
Sirbible made his debut at black-type level with a third place finish behind Tuscan Sling and Reldas in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Boxing Day and he returned to winning form when he led from start to finish in the Hill Handicap (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 2.
Bell has been thrilled with everything that Sirbible has done since he made his Melbourne racing debut and he told Racing Ahead that he is confident that the God’s Own gelding is good enough to be competitive in the Australia Stakes.
“He exceeded all expectations really in the way that he had to come out of barrier 14 and he just went super,” Bell said of Sirbible’s last start win.
“He is absolutely superb and I couldn’t fault him,” Bell said.
“He will go there and hopefully we can draw a bit better of a barrier this time.
“His gallop the other morning was fantastic and everything is on track.
“The horse himself has showed to everybody down that he can absorb pressure and put other horses under pressure.
“If he runs anywhere near the times that he is capable of then he is going to be a live chance I think.”
Rising hoop Jye McNeil has ridden Sirbible in all three of his race starts in Melbourne to date and Bell confirmed that he had been booked to ride the four-year-old again.
Bell said that he has been delighted with the way that McNeil has ridden Sirbible in each of his race starts and he believes that the apprentice is worthy of the opportunity to ride in a Group 2 race for the first time.
“Jye has done a wonderful job on the horse,” Bell said.
“The owners are absolutely over the moon with the way that he has ridden him.
“He has ridden him every time exactly how we have wanted him and you can’t knock him for that.
“You have to give him a go.”
The 2016 Australia Stakes field will be released this morning and Sirbible is set to take on the likes of Rebel Dane, It Is Written, Mourinho, Trust In A Gust, Hucklebuck and Holler.