Bulala will head straight to the $150,000 Country Championship heat at Wagga next month after winning at Murrumbidgee Turf Club (MTC) on Friday.
Bulala confirmed his status as one of the leading chances for the Southern District heat of the Country Championships with a strong win over fellow candidates at Wagga.
Mathew Cahill made the most of the inside gate and gave Bulala every chance, as he held off Bank On Henry to win the Hartwigs Benchmark 65 Handicap (1200m).
Trained by Peter Morgan at Wagga, Bulala will now go straight to the qualifier at Wagga on Sunday March 4.
“He did what he had to do,” Morgan said.
“He’ll be fitter and harder for it. He’ll go straight in there now.
“He’s on target for March 4.”
Cahill, arguably the best jockey in the bush, will ride Bulala in the Country Championship heat.
Morgan said he has first offer of the ride, and Cahill later confirmed he will accept the ride aboard Bulala.
Friday’s win was Bulala’s first run since winning at Albury on December 16. The five-year-old win run over 1400m for the first time in the heat, but both trainer and jockey are confident he will get the trip.
“He’d had enough the last 100 but we probably got to the front a bit early,” Cahill said.
“Normally he settles a bit further back but we got there pretty easily from barrier one.
“Ridden a little bit quieter I think he will run 1400. It was his first run in about five weeks today so he’ll be fitter for it. He relaxes, so I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Morgan is also confident he will see out the 1400m.
“I don’t think the 1400 will be any problem,” he said.
“He settles in his races so I think he will be okay.”
Bulala held on to score by a neck, from Bank On Henry ($11.00). Dangerous Breeding ($61.00) was a further half neck away in third.
Chris Heywood’s pair, Fermanagh Lad and Class Clown, finished in fifth and sixth on their way to the Championships heat.
Scott Spackman’s Chastity Strikes was a late scratching.