When Russell Bell began training, he had two ambitions.
One was to get Jimmy Cassidy to ride one of his horses and the other was to team up with Darren Gauci.
Bell missed out with Cassidy but gets the chance with Gauci before the jockey’s retirement when they combine with Sirbible in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Gauci will join Racing Victoria as an apprentice coach on February 6 and Bell hopes Sirbible can send the champion jockey out with a stakes race success.
“Hopefully Sirbible will be the right horse for him on Friday night,” Bell said.
“It’s an honour to have Darren on the horse. There’s no better front-running jockey in Australia and he’s proven that lately.
“I don’t think he’s lost anything. It will be a sad day when he retires and hopefully he can go out a winner on one of my horses.”
Connections of Sirbible have settled on Friday night’s Group Two sprint instead of the Listed John Dillon Stakes at Caulfield on Thursday and Bell said drawing barrier four at Moonee Valley suits Sirbible.
But he knows it won’t be an easy assignment with Black Heart Bart, Turn Me Loose and Chetwood in the field for the weight-for-age contest.
“It’s a very hard race and I do respect all horses in it,” Bell said.
Sirbible returned to Bell’s Colac base after two runs in Sydney.
He finished second to The Monstar in the Razor Sharp at Randwick on December 17 before running unplacd in the Canterbury Classic on December 31.
Bell says it is wise to forget that run.
“His race was virtually over 50 metres after the start,” Bell said.
“He got some buffeting coming out of the gates and then he copped some more checks and bumps.
“His first run in Sydney was exceptional on a track that didn’t suit him in regards to it being wet.
“It’s testimony to the horse that he can adapt to any conditions.
“Moonee Valley is his track. It’s a very fair track and he gets a little bit more chance in the way he races there.”