It was the trainer's first ever group l winner as a trainer or jockey. And it caps off a remarkable tale of survival for the man whose training camp is based in New South Wales.
Last year he was being treated for stomach cancer and many thought his life was in strife. Earlier this year his apprentice jockey Damien Murphy was killed in a race fall. Yet Bartley's story is one that suggests every dark day ends, every cloud has a silver lining, absorb the pain for it will go away.
His horse, Sniper's Bullet, an unfashionably bred thing, came from fourth at the bend on the damp track to wear down Australia's queen of sprinting, iron filly Gold Edition.
Bartley was joyous.
"We dreamed this was possible and here we are now living the dream," he said chocking back tears.
Sniper's Bullet beat Gold Edition by one length with Victorian galloper Benezetti storming home from well in the field for third a couple of lengths further back. He had won two races in Dubai earlier this year and he survived a protest to retain his third spot.
But the honors were with the winner, who is scheduled to back up on Monday in the Queensland Guineas (Aus-II) over a mile.
"I'll be the first one into his box tomorrow and if he's eaten up and pulled up well, he'll run again on Monday," confirmed the trainer who smiled when he heard winning jockey Craig Williams being interviewed and labeling the horse an ugly duckling.
"He isn't very good looking that's true, but he is a real athlete and he is just such a trier. He is a really good horse actually and to come from behind and beat a champion like Gold Edition proves how good he is. We are all very proud of him."
The Stradbroke was worth AUS$1 million and the race was run in 1.23.9.
For the second group l race in a row it was the bridesmaid tag for Gold Edition but she was once again gallant in defeat.
After bouncing straight to the front Gold Edition kicked three lengths clear of the pursuing pack on straightening, looking the winner, but the 3.5kg weight advantage held by Sniper’s Bullet was the difference over the final stages.
The win was the seventh at group l level this season for Craig Williams, which all but guarantees he will end the season as Australia’s leading group l jockey.
”He’s a bit of an ugly duckling when you look at him but geez, he’s got a motor,” Williams said.
"To run down such a great filly, it was a good win and a good win against the competition. He’s a very exciting horse.”
The win took Sniper's Bullet's, who is by the cheaply priced Bite The Bullet from the mare Yallah Terrace, prize money to AUS$930,600. The classy 3 year-old has won six of his 11 starts.
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