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9/8/2018 Golden Rose among Group 1 targets if Sandbar performs in Rosebud 

Stakes-winning colt Sandbar (Snitzel) will be out to advertise his Golden Rose Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) credentials on Saturday when he resumes in the Rosebud (Listed, 1100m) at Rosehill, a race that could also shape the immediate future of Oxford Tycoon (Written Tycoon). The Brad Widdup-trained colt is set to take on first-up winners Plague Stone (Lonhro), Charge (Zoustar), Group 1-placed Outrageous (All Too Hard) and Legend Of Condor (Not A Single Doubt). Sandbar defeated Santos (I Am Invincible) in a 798 metre barrier trial at Warwick Farm on July 20, a week after a proposed hit-out at Randwick was scratched after forcing his way through the barriers, but Widdup believes the colt is fit enough for his Rosebud return. “He trialled well. I took him for a gallop last week at Warwick Farm, so he has a good fitness base and we are happy with him,” Widdup said. “He is not a big horse, but he has strengthened up and he is very honest. He was an expensive yearling, so it is important for him to run well in these black type races.”
A $650,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale graduate from part-owner John Singleton’s Strawberry Hill Stud draft, the talented colt raced five times as a juvenile, winning a maiden as well as the Lonhro Plate (Listed, 1100m) and finishing runnerup in the Pago Pago Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m). Widdup believes Sandbar is a quality sprinter who may be seen in Melbourne during the spring with a tilt at the Coolmore Stud Stakes (registered as the Ascot Vale Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m) on the agenda. “Hopefully he can end up in the Golden Rose, all going well, but we will see how he fares,” Widdup said. “I think seven furlongs will pull him up, so the Coolmore would be logical after the Golden Rose. We will just get through Saturday first.” Kerrin McEvoy has been booked to ride Sandbar from the outside barrier (nine) after Christian Reith partnered him in his five starts as a two-year-old. Widdup will make a final call on whether Sandbar runs in the Rosebud prior to the 7.30am scratching time on Saturday. “Kerrin was meant to ride him last preparation,but he broke his hand and Christian rode him. Christian didn’t do anything wrong but Kerrin is aligned with a couple of the owners,” he said. Rival trainer Kim Waugh said the Rosebud would dictate the direction Oxford Tycoon heads after his impressive four and three quarter length maiden victory at Wyong on July 24. “Blake Shinn was very happy with him. He did it fairly tough, three deep all the way, and he has done well since, so we will see how he measures up to the better class of horses,” Waugh said. The home bred three-year-old ran third at his first start in the Lonhro Plate when leading in a race that was won by Sandbar before finishing fifth in the Skyline Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) on March 3, a race that has produced fellow subsequent winners Zousain (Zoustar) and, Spin (I Am Invincible). “We always knew he had a lot of ability and that day (in the Lonhro Plate) I thought it was a fantastic run because he did a lot of work in front and kicked on the turn at his first start,” the Wyong-based trainer said. “He is a lovely horse but he is still six months away. He still has a bit of maturing to do.” Waugh was non-committal about where Oxford Tycoon, who will again be ridden by Shinn at Rosehill, would head after the Rosebud. “We just want to see how he comes through it and how he pulls up. We are just going one run at a time with him at the moment,” she said. Meanwhile, impressive Rosebud Prelude (1000m) winner Plague Stone has been installed as the $2.70 favourite ahead of Oxford Tycoon ($4.40) and Sandbar ($6). “Plague Stone has been bottled up and held together as we proceed second up to the Rosebud,” trainer James Cummings said. “He continues to look very sharp since his strong win over five furlongs a few weeks ago and looks set to let down strongly yet again in what looks another suitable race early on in his campaign.”

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