Tough When You Strike A Sandbar

Sandbar wins The Rosebud at Rosehill Gardens

Sandbar digs deep to take out The Rosebud on Saturday at Rosehill (Lisa Grimm)


It’s hardly surprising that both owner and trainer reckon their 3YO colt, Sandbar, is one tough customer.

Racing in Saturday’s Listed Smithfield RSL Club The Rosebud over 1100m at Rosehill Gardens, Sandbar had to jump from the widest barrier and ultimately fought off challenges from the much fancied, Charge, and Golden Tycoon, respectively carrying 6kgs and 5.5kgs less than the winner’s 59kgs impost.

And fight them off he did, digging deep at the wire to score by a head.

It was the first run back for Sandbar who had displayed plenty of dash as a 2YO, winning two from five – including the Listed Lonhro Plate – running second (beaten a lip by Blue Diamond winner Written By) in the Group Three Pago Pago and signing off with a solid midfield finish in the Golden Slipper.

‘Tough’ was certainly a recurring theme in trainer, Brad Widdup’s post-race comments: “He’s a tough horse and he’s showed that all along … he drew bad, but he’s such a tough horse … there’s still a lot of improvement there and we’ll see how he pulls up but we have a couple of options now … he’s just so tough”.

Part-owner and purchaser – Damion Flower of Jadeskye Racing – was attracted by the ‘tough’ too when he first spotted Sandbar at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, eventually buying the Snitzel colt for $650,000.

“He (Sandbar) was just the right type … the right size for a son of Snitzel and moved really well,” Flower recalls. “I’m always on the look out for well-bred colts that could become stallion prospects and another attraction is Sandbar’s temperament. I reckon I saw him get pulled out of his box at the sales around 30 times one day and none of it phased him in the slightest. He’s tough alright.”

While The Rosebud is programmed as a lead up for the Golden Rose over 1400m at Rosehill Gardens on 22 September, Sandbar is no certainty to contest the Group One race. Well, not that Group One anyway.

“I think Sandbar is an out and out sprinter, but the Run To The Rose over 1200m will decide that for us and then it will be up to Brad to decide as he is the trainer and has the final call on his next run,” Flower points out.

“Sandbar could be my Everest horse next year but his main aim this campaign, after speaking with Brad, is the Golden Rose and, if all goes well, perhaps the (Group One) Coolmore Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day. Again, it will be up to Brad.”

Flower’s Jadeskye purchased around a dozen yearlings in 2017 and 15 this year and has some 30 in work at the moment: most of them with Widdup, who is based at Hawkesbury racecourse and considered one of the rising stars of NSW racing.

“I’ve got shares in a couple of horses with other trainers, but the vast majority are with Brad who does such a great job with them,” Flower adds. “Jadeskye owns Brad’s (Platinum Park) stables, but he’s the boss inside those gates and also has many other clients … in fact, he’s becoming so popular I’ve just had to build another 20 boxes for him!

“We’ve got some very good youngsters coming through, but Sandbar is definitely the star of the team for the time being.”

Flower clearly knows how to identify a good horse. First getting involved in the industry as a school boy – “I used to hang around with Robert Tidy (son of leading bookmaker, Col) and Dean Edser (son of legendary punter, ‘Hollywood’ George) – Flower would become a professional punter for a while and also a property developer.

“The first horse I ever bought though was Clangalang (2003 Australian Derby and Epsom Handicap) and when he was subsequently sold for $1 million, I used my quarter share to purchase Snitzel,” Flower explains. “I’ve now got a handful of mares, from which I support Snitzel and (Group Two winning sprinter) Rubick, who I also raced.”

Meanwhile, on the subject of pulling the right rein, there was also plenty of rejoicing at South East Queensland’s Lucas Bloodstock following Sandbar’s Rosebud triumph.

Sandbar is the fourth foal of Street Cry’s Group winner and was bred by Strawberry Hill Stud, but the mare – somewhat astutely – was snapped up by David Lucas, on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, for $250,000 at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale … in foal to Not A Single Doubt.

Tallow is currently in foal to Snitzel and is likely to return to the stallion this spring.

“It’s a great result for Phoenix which has only really just started its involvement in Australia,” Lucas Bloodstock’s Ben Lucas points out. “They (Phoenix) have stables in Europe, North America and the United Arab Emirates and have had a magnificent year with Signora Cabello winning the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and Gronkowski finishing second for them in the Belmont Stakes.

“Tallow was one of four mares that David (Lucas) purchased for Phoenix at the Nationals last year, while four of five original yearlings he selected on their behalf have now won.

“It’s terrific to see them having such success in both hemispheres.”

HOOFBEAT: David Lucas stood multiple Group winning Bellotto stallion Clang at his Willowbend Stud from where he produced Golden Slipper winner, Calaway Gal, Stradbroke winner Black Piranha and … Clangalang.

The Power of Passion