Blinkers will go back on multiple Group One winner Sniper’s Bullet in a bid to ride him more aggressively in Saturday’s Apollo Stakes at Rosehill.
Sniper’s Bullet got out of his ground from a wide gate in the Expressway Stakes (1200m) and made little impression in a race dominated by leader Rain Affair.
Rain Affair is odds-on favourite to land his ninth consecutive win in the Group Two Apollo Stakes (1400m) and Tracey Bartley, trainer of Sniper’s Bullet, sees little point in being conservative against the speedster.
“I’ve thrown the blinkers back on for Saturday so we can put him a bit closer in the run,” Bartley said.
“He should sit in the first four or five.
“Most of his best runs have been when he’s raced on top of the speed.
“He sprinted alright last start. It was just hard to make up ground.”
With Christian Reith suspended, Sniper’s Bullet will have a new rider in Kathy O’Hara.
She will become the 19th different jockey to partner the eight-year-old at what will be his 54th start.
“Being a small stable its hard to get the stickers,” Bartley said.
“But Kathy is a very positive rider.”
While Bartley is hoping for an improved showing from Sniper’s Bullet, he isn’t expecting him to trouble the $1.45 favourite Rain Affair.
“He’s a very good horse and he has a high cruising speed,” Bartley said of Rain Affair.
“He’s only young. The sky is the limit.”
A field of 13 will line up in the Apollo, including Chris Waller’s quartet of Shoot Out, Danleigh, Rangirangdoo and Hawk Island.
The in-form Jim Cassidy will partner Danleigh and like Bartley, he can’t see many chinks in Rain Affair’s armour.
He reckons the best chance rivals will have is if the track is firm.
“He’s jumped all the hurdles so far that have been put in front of him. He will be very hard to beat Saturday,” Cassidy said.
“I’d like to see the track drying out a bit because all his outstanding form has been on rain-affected (ground).”
Danleigh finished sixth to Rain Affair first-up in the Expressway with Cassidy in the saddle.
The hoop was satisfied with that effort and expected Danleigh to derive improvement.
“Considering he was three deep, he ranged up at the 300 (metres) to run up to the placegetters and probably just got tired,” Cassidy said.
“I think he can be very cheeky Saturday.”