“When he came back, we went to the barrier trials at Randwick and he went through the front of the gates and cantered a lap.
“He missed that trial and again we were playing catch-up. He won a trial, but you just don’t know if that is going count against him on raceday.
‘‘Hopefully that is all behind us, touch wood. He is certainly a horse that could get through to a Golden Rose, and there are plenty of options for him.”
The Rosebud had loads of speed on paper and, jumping from barrier nine of nine, pushing forward under top weight of 59kg was always going to represent a challenge for Sandbar. Enter McEvoy, who was able to drop in behind the speed set by Golden Tycoon and Charge and produce Sandbar at the right time score a Listed win.
‘The ride won the race,” Widdup said. “He is a nice horse, but we were worried that he would get in from the barrier.
“Coming to the turn, you knew he is so tough that he was going to get the leaders, and he did.
McEvoy drove Sandbar ($6.50) past Charge ($8) to win by a head, with the game leader Gold Tycoon ($8) a half-neck back in third.
“Everything pointed to the fact we had a tough assignment – the barrier, the weight,” McEvoy said.
“We ended up getting a nice run from what looked an awkward alley with that weight.
Favourite Plague Stone raced a bit keen early and was trapped three wide throughout and could only manage fourth. Ringerdingding and Outrageous finished the race off well from back in the field without getting much room in the straight.