Sandbar blossoms into Rose contender
SANDBAR is the equine blueblood with a reputation of being racing's blue-collar worker.
This statement might be an oxymoron but it neatly sums up three-year-old colt Sandbar, one of the chances in the Group 2 $200,000 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Despite his impeccable breeding and impressive racetrack record, Sandbar continues to be underrated.
The last-start Listed stakes winner was at $10 on Friday afternoon with Ladbrokes' fixed-odds bettin for the Run To The Rose.
Owner Damion Flower is getting used to pundits dismissing Sandbar.
"He is flying under the radar again,'' Flower said.
"He's very underrated but that's fine with us. He will go to the races and give 110 per cent like he always does.''
And Sandbar's best is pretty good, with three wins from six starts, including Listed level wins in the Lonhro Plate last season and The Rosebud when resuming a month ago.
The Brad Widdup-trained Sandbar hasn't raced since his strong win over Charge and Golden Tycoon over 1100m a month ago, a deliberate tactic to ensure the colt is primed for the Group 1 $1 million Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill in two weeks.
"After Sandbar won the Rosebud, Brad thought about running the colt in the San Domenico Stakes,'' Flower said. "But we talked about it and Brad couldn't find a reason why we had to race again.
"So, we are happy to go a month between runs into (Saturday's) race and then have two weeks into the Golden Rose. This then gives us time to think about getting Sandbar ready for the Coolmore Stud Stakes in Melbourne during the spring.''
Kerrin McEvoy won on Sandbar first-up but as he is obligated to ride The Autumn Sun in the Golden Rose, Flower and Widdup have locked into Corey Brown to ride their colt at his next two starts.
"We wanted the same jockey for both Saturday's race and the Golden Rose so Corey is the new rider,'' Flower said.
"Corey will suit Sandbar. This colt doesn't pull, does everything right in his races, and that is why we are confident he will get out over a little further.
"Brad knows the horse better than anyone and he has no issues about him running 1400m in the Golden Rose but we will get through this race first.''
Sandbar is by Snitzel, the super sire that Flower owned during a brilliant race career that yielded a win in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate, out of the stakes-winning mare Tallow, herself a daughter of Winx's sire, Street Cry.
Flower had to go to $650,000 to purchase Sandbar as a yearling at the Magic Million Sales last year.
Sandbar was bred by John Singleton, who has retained a share in the colt's high-profile syndicate of owners, which includes Neil Werrett of Black Caviar fame and Nick Vaas.
"I liked the fact that John Singleton wanted to stay in this colt, that is a sign of confidence for me,'' Flower said.
"Being a Snitzel colt, there is massive upside with Sandbar. We have been offered a lot of money for him already but we are here to race him.''
Flower hopes that Sandbar could develop into a potential The Everest runner next year, after the slot-holder's selection of outstanding mare English to run in the $13 million race at Royal Randwick on October 13.
English, a dual Group 1 winner of nearly $3.5 million prizemoney, produced a pleasing barrier trial effort at Rosehill last Monday when second to Ef Troop.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained mare is due to resume racing in The Shorts at Randwick next Saturday.
"I thought English's trial was really, really nice,'' Flower said.
"I know she might have got beaten by three lengths but you don't get prizemoney in trial and there was no need for her to chase down a speed horse like Ef Troop. But I know the stable is really happy with her and it is exciting to think The Everest is only a month away.
"Obviously I don't own English but I've chosen her for my slot so you feel like a part of it all with the stable updates from Gai and Adrian and the feedback you get from the Kelly family (owners).''
Flower settled on his Everest choice some weeks ago but Max Whitby and Werrett, who share a slot, have still to select a runner after their original choice, Menari, suffered an injury and was retired.
But Flower, Whitby and Werrett share in the ownership of the Widdup-trained Za Zi Ba, the in-form mare scratched from Rosehill to be saved for Canterbury next Wednesday.
"Za Zi Ba was very good winning at Rosehill a couple of weeks ago and she is getting better with age and maturity,'' Flower said. "She drew wide (Saturday) so we will wait for next week. She is going really well.''