Some of the five-year-old Ideal World gelding's fans have been concerned about the hard race he had in the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate but Sands said, "He got caught in the front with Hawwaam and they were fighting head to head for about three furlongs, so it was a great effort for him to still stay on for third. We had to ease back on him a little after the race, but he has now come well, I am very happy with him."
Big race jockey Ryan Moore is globe-trotting at present and Sands was not sure whether he would arrive in time to sit on Rainbow Bridge before Saturday.
Moore was in Florida last Saturday to ride in the Pegasus World Cup, where he finished second on the Aidan O'Brien-trained Magic Wand. He then finished second yesterday on the KW Lui-trained More Than This in the Hong Kong Classic Mile at Sha Tin's big Chinese New Year meeting and today he will be riding work in Saudia Arabia ahead of the US$20 Million Saudi Cup on February 29.
Sands believes there will be a fair pace in the Met.
He identified Twist Of Fate as a horse who had run his best races when going strongly up with the pace and mentioned Head Honcho as another who liked to be right up there.
He added, "We are drawn outside of both of them too."
He said he could not see either of those two horses setting a very fast pace but felt there would at least be an honest pace.
Rainbow Bridge has a fine draw of five and Twist Of fate and Head Honcho are drawn three and four respectively.
Sands clinched his first Met victory last year.
His previous best in Cape Town's biggest race had been second with Grand Jete in 2002.
Sands only has one other runner on the day, Black Belt in the last race.
He said about this hard-knocking Black Minnaloushe gelding, "He is a five-year-old so is not improving but is very honest and it is not a killer field. In fact I think the field he ran in the other day was stronger and he is doing well."
by David Thiselton