Having run a brave third to stablemate Glencadam Gold in the race last Sydney Spring Racing Carnival the Gai Waterhouse-trained Reuben Percival has the 2013 The Metropolitan Handicap on the agenda again this season.
The veteran Al Akbar seven-year-old races at Moonee Valley on the weekend set to carrying the 61kg top weight with returning globetrotter Craig Williams in the saddle for the $80,000 DPOS Displays BM96 Handicap (2500m).
It will be a nice drop back in class for Reuben Percival, the $4 second favourite behind Robert Smerdon’s last start Sandown winner Arch Fire ($2.80), who comes off two black type assignments.
Second-up they were well beaten in the wet at Rosehill when eight lengths away fifth to Destiny’s Kiss in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m).
They improved on that enjoying a track with a bit more stability at Grafton on July 11 however when finishing only half a length off Mr O’Ceirin running third in the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m).
Waterhouse and co. are hoping they can progress again on Saturday even with their hefty weight allocation at The Valley, their master trainer having to send them interstate to keep their fitness up ahead of their bigger assignments later in the season.
“I think it’s fair to say he’s been given the weight based on his class and we think he’ll be very competitive with that weight,” stable rep Bruce Slade said according to racenet.com.au.
The extra distance is likely to suit though with Reuben Percival boasting proven form up to two miles when second to Ibicenco in last November’s Sandown Cup (3200m).
They also ran second over this track and distance on Cox Plate Day last year to Vatuvei in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).
“That race looks like a nice option,” Slade said.
“They took the benchmark up to 96, which gets a good class horse into the race with a winnable weight and we have got Craig Williams on board and that’s a plus.
“He’s handled Moonee Valley well before, he loves the distance and Gai wanted Craig on to not carry too much dead weight, which is why we didn’t put on a claiming apprentice.”
Connections have said they will again contest the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 5 before plans are made whether to press onto the riches on offer in Victoria in the staying majors.
Waterhouse and co. are hoping the galloper brings it on Saturday before they head back to Sydney for a shot at the $150,000 Listed Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) on September 6.
“He ran in the Grafton Cup and then there’s just nothing for him up here until the Wyong Cups and those sorts of races,” Slade said.
“Wyong Cup is on the sixth of September and there’s the ($200,000 Group 3) Newcastle Cup (over 2300m on September 19) of course and then The Metropolitan, which is his main aim this time in.”
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