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Warwick Farm: Brad Widdup has Sunfighter and Sandbar ready to step up to next challenge

When Brad Widdup arrived as the master of Platinum Park, he sat down with owner Damion Flower and looked at the two-year-olds and the sales-based races.

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Sandbar was marked as a Magic Millions horse and Sunfighter had Saturday's Inglis Classic as a mission.

"They are important races in terms of prizemoney and I wanted to have a clear thought about where horses were getting an opportunity like that," Widdup said.

"It is an opportunity to get a good return against restricted opposition and is a ticket in the lottery." 

Sandbar, unfortunately, didn't make the Magic Millions but his quality has come through and he faces a test in the Lonhro Plate at Warwick Farm on Saturday. Sunfighter arrives at his targeted race on the same afternoon.


"They worked together on Tuesday morning and I'm happy with both of them going to the races," Widdup said. "Sunfighter has really taken another step after his debut at Wyong and it is the kind of race where he will be competitive.

"Like I said, we knew this race was there for him and once he had that first trial in the spring we were happy with him.

"He has taken steps forward with each of his trials this time, but his improvement from that race has been outstanding."

Sandbar is a different story. He is simply tough and resilient. The Snitzel colt brought $650,000 through the Magic Millions ring but fell sick at the sale.

"The staff at Strawberry Hills did a great job with him because he just had his head in their laps there for a while," Widdup said. "When he came to me he was in fantastic shape and ready to go. Never had a problem.

"We were getting him ready for the Millions [Classic for two-year-olds] and he slipped at the pool and that just set him back a bit, so he had to miss the Gold Coast.

"He is just a little professional with anything we have to do with him. He takes it in his stride and is one of those that is good to work with.

"And he has his share of ability."

Sandbar showed that professional attitude sitting outside the leader and winning at Canterbury at his only start. The Lonhro Plate at listed level is another lift of the bar and will offer an insight into whether a Golden Slipper preparation is on the radar.

"It is a big step up and when you look at the race there is the Gimcrack winner [Satin Slipper], one from Godolphin [Osorno] and a couple of others that can  be good measuring sticks," Widdup said.

"He is a nice colt that has a good attitude, which is so important with two-year-olds because without it you can't show your talent.

"If you step up at this time of the year there are certainly some big prizes on offer."


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