Single Bullet (foreground) puts his Magic Millions campaign on the lilne at Rosehill.
Gary Portelli expects to learn whether Single Bullet is on track to target the lucrative Gold Coast Magic Millions meeting when he races at Rosehill.
The three-year-old colt is effectively on trial when he lines up in the Mark Hughes Foundation Handicap (1100m), where he will race to a pattern designed to warrant a crack at the $1.9 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m)on January 13.
Single Bullet has been forced to race on speed and often without cover in his three starts during spring due to the sluggish tempo, with the Warwick Farm trainer to instruct apprentice Lee Magorrian to ride him quietly on Saturday.
“My gut feel is if doesn’t learn to settle and switch off he won’t run 1400,” Portelli said.
Single Bullet is scheduled to have a final Magic Millions audition in the Christmas Classic (1200m) at Randwick on December 30 with no 1400-m tune-up available.
“He needs these two runs to convince me to go. I don’t want to ruin him for the sake of one race,” Portelli said.
He was confident there was sufficient pace in a field featuring Bon Amis and Test The World to suit his strategy.
“I reckon they’ll go quick so he should be in a nice position to travel comfortably and really rip home, that’s what I want to see,” Portelli said.
Single Bullet had a freshen-up after his second placing in the Group Three Red Anchor Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in late October, and should also benefit from drawing barrier four.
Portelli’s only reservation was how Single Bullet would fare against senior opposition.
“It’s just a matter of how he steps up to the older sprinters,” he said.
“He’s giving a year, if not more, to some of these horses though he should be very hard to beat.”