International Talent Dominates The Metropolitan 2014 Final Field

Bringing Epsom Handicap Day to a close in Sydney this Saturday is the 2014 The Metropolitan, which drew a final field of potential stayers largely dominated by international talent.

Chris Waller's Junoob heads the heavily international final field for The Metropolitan.

Chris Waller's Junoob heads the heavily international final field for The Metropolitan. Photo by Steve Hart.

Running as race 9 at Royal Randwick Racecourse at 5:25 PM (AEST), Saturday’s $400,000 Group 1 McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan (1600m) features a final field of 16 acceptors, 13 of which are international horses.

Leading both the field and weights is the Chris Waller-trained duo Junoob and Bagman at 58kg. Despite being the top-weights for The Metropolitan 2014 this will be the lightest weight for both horses this season, with Bagman dropping up to 2kg and Junoob coming in at 59kg on his last two starts.

Junoob has drawn well in barrier three under jockey Blake Shinn while Bagman has drawn wide in barrier 12 with star jockey Hugh Bowman to ride.

The seven-year-old Junoob didn’t have the best start to his spring racing campaign, finishing end of the field in both the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) and Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m). However the gelding proved a successful stayer in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 20, passing the post nearly two lengths ahead of his competitors.

Bagman has had a successful racing year, placing in six of his last seven starts including two Handicap wins. However the eight-year-old didn’t start from a gate wider than five in any of these, which means he could struggle from his wide draw come Saturday.

Waller completely dominates the race in terms of numbers, with another three hopefuls to his name. Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) runner-up Opinion and Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) second Brigantin have drawn wide barriers like Bagman, 14 and 11 respectively, while Our Voodoo Prince drew the middle barrier and will partner international jockey Joao Moreira.

David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s Spillway will start from barrier 9 with James McDonald to ride.

Hayes revealed that Spillway will need to win the Metrop to make the desired Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) field after a seventh place finish in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) last month derailed the trainers’ plans.

“We ran him in the Naturalism hoping to qualify him for the Caulfield Cup and nothing went right. It was painful to watch,” Hayes said to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“[Jockey Damien Oliver] zigged when he should have zagged and he never got a run. We wouldn’t be here if he had won.

“That has left us having to go to the Metrop, hopefully to win it and get a penalty to lift him in the Caulfield Cup.

“Often timing with these imports is the biggest thing, especially when they have the talent.”

The Gai Waterhouse-trained Travolta has drawn the ideal barrier two under jockey Joshua Parr but isn’t entering with the best form after failing to place in any of his three September starts. A 3kg weight drop will surely help the six-year-old gelding improve his run.

Other notable acceptors include the Hawkes team’s La Amistad, who will run on the lowest weight from barrier 6 under jockey Corey Brown, and John Sargent’s Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality Handicap (2400m) runner-up Iggi Pop, who’ll enjoy a rails run under Jim Byrne.

The complete final field and barrier draw for The Metropolitan 2014 is listed below.

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2014 The Metropolitan Final Field & Barrier Draw

Royal Randwick Race 9 – 5:2opm (AEST) – 04/10/2013

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp Rating
1 131143×861 JUNOOB (GB) Chris Waller Blake Shinn 3 58kg 108
2 x002431133 BAGMAN Chris Waller Hugh Bowman 12 58kg 105
3 44x781x247 SPILLWAY (GB) David Hayes & Tom Dabernig James McDonald 9 57.5kg 104
4 612262×050 OPINION (IRE) Chris Waller Tye Angland 14 56kg 101
5 234×746845 TRAVOLTA (NZ) Gai Waterhouse Joshua Parr 2 56kg 100
6 523664×072 BRIGANTIN (USA) Chris Waller Glyn Schofield 11 55.5kg 100
7 x08111x374 LA AMISTAD Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Corey Brown 6 55.5kg 100
8 34x111x938 OUR VOODOO PRINCE (GB) Chris Waller Joao Moreira 8 55.5kg 100
9 34x0313x76 ARALDO (GB) Michael Moroney Jeff Lloyd 16 55.5kg 98
10 06017×1252 KINGDOMS (NZ) Brian Smith Larry Cassidy 5 55.5kg 98
11 42x5712x43 WISH COME TRUE (IRE) Peter G Moody Tim Clark 4 55.5kg 98
12 8140×32631 DEANE MARTIN (NZ) Bruce Wallace Chris Munce 10 55.5kg 97
13 x5x49x4051 DISCLAIMER (GB) Peter & Paul Snowden Christian Reith 15 55.5kg 97
14 x30926x090 TUPAC AMARU John O’Shea Sam Clipperton 13 55.5kg 96
15 x475601652 IGGI POP (NZ) John Sargent Jim Byrne 1 55.5kg 95
16 x993008136 KHALID (GB) Paul Perry 7 55.5kg 70


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