By Ray Hickson Talented colt Single Bullet virtually had one hoof on the float due to take him for a spell when trainer Gary Portelli decided he needed to knock a niggling distance doubt on the head. The colt had been beaten up by Viridine in his two runs this spring and Portelli was about to pull the pin to aim up at the 1400m Magic Millions Guineas. Portelli said the Listed $150,000 Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) at Randwick will provide him with a definitive guide as to where he should aim Single Bullet beyond Saturday’s race. “It’s a very winnable race, I’m really using this race to form an opinion on whether he is going to run seven furlongs,’’ he said. “It’d be silly to be aiming at the Magic Millions three-year-old over 1400m if he can’t get 1200m at Randwick.
“My opinion, later on, he is going to be an off-pace 1100m-1200m high pressure type horse. “After thinking about it, it’s probably ideal to try him one more time over 1200m and see him hit the line a bit stronger.’’ Portelli said there wasn’t any reason for going to the paddock other than Melbourne was off the table due to Viridine also heading south. With a BOBS bonus Single Bullet can take home over $100,000 if he breaks through, which would be some compensation for being a punching bag for the Godolphin colt this spring in the Heritage and Roman Consul Stakes. “We’ll ride him off the pace a bit, the biggest query for me is if the track gets close to heavy he won’t run,’’ he said. “It’d be nice to see the edge off but I don’t want to see a choppy track because I don’t think he opens up on it.’’ The rain around on Friday certainly won’t harm the chances of Improvement in the ClubsNSW Handicap (1400m). Portelli said the four-year-old has been desperate for some forgiving ground and is convinced the rise in distance, having been beaten less than a length by Isorich in her past two starts, is what she needs. “I thought her last run had her screaming out for distance,’’ he said. “(Apprentice) Lee Magorrian has beaten us at our last two starts so I thought if you can’t beat em, join em. We’ll roll forward and try to dictate, or share the lead, she will be very hard to run down. “She loves the sting out, just the edge off for her, she feels the hard tracks.’’ Check out the fields and form for Royal Randwick on Saturday