Christian Reith often feels he is controlling a seasoned campaigner when he puts Golden Slipper contender Sandbar through his paces.
Whether it be trackwork or on race day, the experienced jockey gets the same reassuring reaction from the colt ahead of one of the most significant dates on the Australian racing calendar.
From day one Reith suspected Sandbar, the last horse to make the field for Saturday's $3.5 million Group One feature at Rosehill, was worthy of mixing it with favourites Sunlight and Written By.
"He's got a fantastic temperament and attitude, he's very professional. Nothing upsets him, he never gets hot," Reith said.
"He's like an eight-year-old gelding. It's like he's been here before and he's done it before."
Reith has past experience in the world's richest two-year-old race and believes Sandbar has the attributes to succeed off a seven-day back-up.
"They're high-pressure races and some horses handle it and some horses don't," he said.
"My horse is as tough as guts and that's going to bring us right into the race."
Reith, who last rode in the Golden Slipper in 2014 on fifth-placed Memorial, said there were other factors in Sandbar's favour.
Wet weather would boost Sandbar's chances - Rosehill was already in the soft range on Wednesday - and drawing barrier three was another bonus.
"The weather's going to be on our side, the barrier is going to be on our side," he said.
"It's a plus having a good draw in a major like this. We won't have to do as much work to put ourselves into a position compared to if we were drawn wide."
Sandbar was a $10 chance with the TAB on Wednesday while the gap had closed between Sunlight ($4.20) and Written By ($4.80).
Trained by Reith's brother-in-law Brad Widdup, Sandbar has only had one disappointing run when he finished second last in the Group Two Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 3.
"That was a bit of a head scratcher," Reith said.
Fortunately Sandbar regrouped and pushed Written By to the wire in last Saturday's Group Three Pago Pago Stakes dress rehearsal.
"He bounced back and ran really well so we know we've got a live chance," Reith said.
Sandbar was among the 16 runners and four emergencies which passed a Racing NSW veterinary inspection on Wednesday that included an examination and review of treatment records.
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