Sirbible (Image: Racing Photos)
Sirbible is poised to race second-up at his happy hunting ground, Moonee Valley, on Saturday, with trainer Russell Bell having to endure a couple of uncontrollable setbacks in his preparation.
Sirbible hasn't raced since his fresh run on Cox Plate Day when fifth behind Gun Case in a 955m open handicap - despite being accepted for at Warrnambool (races abandoned) and Racing.com Park (scratched due to track downgrade) since.
Lugged the 63kg topweight on Saturday, Bell has booked in-form apprentice Fred Kersley - 'I know his old man [ex-jockey Gavin Eades]' - who can claim 3kg to relieve Sirbible's load to 60kg.
Sirbible has won three times and placed on two other occasions from eight starts at The Valley, among his 11 wins and 11 minor placings in 33 career starts.
Bell said Sirbible, who won his trainer $50,000 credit to spend at the Inglis sales via the 55 Second Challenge last season, was flying ahead of his assignment on Saturday.
"I thought his first-up run was exceptional. He was taken on by the Tasmanian horse [Gee Gees Jet]," Bell said of Sirbible's run.
"If that was a 955m [55 Second Challenge] race, he probably wins.
"I'd say he's going as good, if not better, than last season [when he won the Challenge in 54.84s]."
WATCH: Sirbible's Cox Plate Day run
Bell said a recent Geelong jumpout from Sirbible was 'sensational', and broke the clock, too.
He added that the upcoming period might prove tricky to place the galloper with a 90 handicap rating, after their attempts to step him back out over seven furlongs - a distance at which he has excelled twice in Alice Springs - was derailed.
"He's been in twice, the owners wanted to go to 1400m because he is unbeaten over that trip, so we went to Warrnambool, they got called off," he explained.
"We gave him a freshen-up. We had him in at Pakenham; the track wasn't to his liking so we scratched."
Meanwhile, one of the products of Sirbible's 55 Second Challenge win is bound for the Northern Territory as part of Bell's two-pronged training attack.
Bell raised his hand last to pay $23,000 for a Toorak Toff colt out of Dasharna, still unnamed, and he said he'll be aiming at the juvenile races in NT.
"He's a lovely, lovely colt. We've syndicated him, but he won't race in Victoria," Bell said.
"He goes to Alice for the carnival for those two-year-old races, and he's reasonably forward."