Brisbane trainer Brian Smith is looking at a possible Metropolitan Handicap 2014 campaign this coming Sydney Spring Racing Carnival for his stable ace Kingdoms who starts favourite in the Tattersall’s Mile at Doomben this weekend.
One of three for the Eagle Farm-based Smith in Saturday’s $80,000 Listed Tattersall’s Mile Handicap (1600m), High Chaparral gelding Kingdoms is set to jump the punters’ pick in Doomben Race 7 at 3:45pm.
The rising five-year-old is leading the Tattersall’s Mile betting markets at bookies around the country after a first-up win in the Listed Open Mile (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.
It was the progressive stayer’s first run in nearly eight months and their debut for the evergreen Smith who sits fourth on the Brisbane trainers’ premiership ladder with 26 city winners.
Previously prepared in Sydney by John O’Shea the up-and-comer contested last year’s $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in their third elite level assignment.
“I had a few tried horses for (part owner) Michael O’Keeffe, like Cruz By and Southerly, and they won some races so he said he’d send me a good one,” Smith explained to AAP this week.
“He has done just that with Kingdoms.”
As a three-year-old they were twice tested in Group 1 company against their own kind when a distant fourth to It’s A Dundeel in the Rosehill Guineas and then third behind the same Kiwi star in the Australian Derby over 2400m in April last year.
In The Metropolitan however they over-raced in the early stages of the Royal Randwick feature and could only manage to finish 10th to Seville, albeit defeated only three and a half lengths.
Smith, of 1976 Brisbane Cup winner Balmerino fame, is hoping they can improve on that performance for him as they target a second shot in The Metropolitan Handicap, held this year on Epsom Handicap Day on October 4.
In the lead-up to that they will contest the $175,000 Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) on September 18, a race Smith won back in 2006 with Bickie Tin Blues.
Firstly however they will target something a lot closer to home racing in the Tattersall’s Mile from the inside alley with Larry Cassidy aboard.
Cassidy rode them for their lead-up win when they had barrier 12 of 12 to overcome carrying 54.5kg, a full three kilos less than the weight the bookies are tipping them to handle with another win this weekend at the tighter Doomben track.
Smith’s two other Tattersall’s Mile hopes are then Grey Assignment who was scratched from Thursday’s $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) in favour of this shorter assignment and the former John Wheeler-trained Kiwi expat Jetset Lad.
Refuse To Bend seven-year-old Grey Assignment, after their first win in nearly 12 months, comes off a close third behind another Grafton Cup withdrawal Brave Ali in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) and so drops back notable in distance here.
Jetset Lad meanwhile has a gun barrier two draw for the weekend where the Elusive City six-year-old will look to improve on their past three fourth place finishes, most recently behind Alma’s Fury when beaten two lengths on Caloundra Cup Day in the Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m).
Other notable hopes in the race include Strawberry Road Handicap winner Transporter carrying 58kg from barrier six, Kelly Doughty’s Glasshouse Handicap third placegetter Black Cash and flying Rockhampton visitor Vandalised who has won their past four on the trot at home including three over the 1600m.
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