By Ray Hickson
He upstaged She Will Reign in a barrier trial and now it’s up to Single Bullet to prove to trainer Gary Portelli he can be a spring force at Randwick on Saturday.
Portelli said he would love to aim the Group 3 winning colt at the $300,000 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) on October 7.
But he needs a one-two finish in Saturday’s Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) to warrant it.
“You never know until you produce these three-year-olds where you’re actually at,’’ Portelli said.
“The Roman Consul is the option in Sydney and he would need to be winning or running second on the weekend because that will be another level.’’
Since Single Bullet accounted for his Slipper winning stablemate on August 25 Portelli gave him a quiet trial a week ago to have him ready to race on Saturday.
Portelli said he can only expect Single Bullet to be competitive from a perfect barrier on good ground with the preparation he’s had.
“All the ticks are in the right boxes,’’ he said.
“He’s probably carrying a little more condition than what I’ve seen him carry before and he’s starting to really fill out into his frame.
“There’s improvement in him and this run will have him spot on second-up but I think he’s fit enough to win over 1100m.’’
Speaking of Improvement, the mare with that name will be closely watched by Portelli after she puzzled him with her lack of gate speed when she resumed at Rosehill last month.
He sent the four-year-old back to the trials after running sixth behind Tango Rain and said her run in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1200m) will determine her immediate racing future.
“We gave her the trial in between to see how her gate speed looked and while it was better it wasn’t her usual gate speed,’’ he said.
“We’re thinking she might have lost a length or two out of the gates.
“We’ll get her fired up behind the gates and get her mind on the job, hopefully have her comfortable in the first four or five rather than being out the back because she didn’t like that at all.’’
A return to form would encourage Portelli to send Improvement south, an average run and he said he’ll pull up stumps until the summer.
Meanwhile, She Will Reign’s Everest build continues when she has her second barrier trial this preparation at Rosehill on Tuesday.