After gelding the enigmatic Single Bullet and employing a few other subtle gear changes, former Orange trainer Gary Portelli is certain his four-year-old is ready for a crack at the Magic Millions.
If he wins at Rosehill on Saturday, that is.
But, after likening the 2017 Pago Pago Stakes winner to “a football team who train well but get beaten by a point every week”, Portelli did say he’s confident Single Bullet is ready to go ahead of Saturday’s Merry Christmas ATC Members Sprint (1100 metres).
"He's an enigma, that's for sure,'' Portelli said, speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I think we've worked him out. We've given him plenty of time and he's ready to go to the races again.
"He's been a difficult horse. He was a colt, we had to geld him, his first run back from a spell with 61kg he ran third, it was a good run, then he was expected to win and let us down.
"We decided to change a few things, we freshened him right up, dropped him right back to 1000 metres and rode him cold and come with one big run. He hit the line like a rocket.
"We'd certainly look at that Magic Millions race if he wins on the weekend. We just want to see him put it together twice. Hopefully they go quick and he can come with that one run.''
Tommy Berry was in the saddle when Single Bullet, who has won twice but placed nine times from 16 career starts, steamed home last start and retains the ride.
Portelli will also start Nicci's Gold, who has drawn awkwardly, and the three-year-old Ronstar.
"Nicci's Gold ran second last start to Seasons, it was a massive run, but she has drawn out wide and will get back a bit,'' Portelli said.
"Ronstar has drawn the one alley and I reckon he's ready to put his best foot forward. He was disappointing last start, I dropped him back to 1100 and rode him up on the speed, but he didn't finish it off. The run before that was good, and barrier one over 1400, a small field and with the blinkers on he can turn the form around.
"There are three good chances this weekend and if everything goes to plan they can all come away with some good prizemoney.''
The Merry Christmas ATC Members Sprint is the seventh at Rosehill, and jumps at 5pm on Saturday.