Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller celebrated two Group 1 quinellas on Epsom Handicap Day closing the meeting with Junoob digging deep to defeat top stayer in the making Opinion in The Metropolitan 2014.
Then in the last he dominated proceedings again with Epsom winning hoop Blake Shinn saluting again this time on the 58kg top weight Junoob.
Last start winner of the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at the track on September 20, Haafhd six-year-old Junoob had to dig deep today after getting pushed to the front a little earlier than Shinn would have liked.
With the big weight in a really strong 2400m, and sitting up around fourth in the hot pace set by the likes of Travolta and Iggi Pop he was a sitting duck there to be beaten after taking up front running with 400m left to travel.
But he kicked away despite the impost and they couldn’t run him down, Junoob ($5) beating home Waller’s Sydney Cup runner-up Opinion ($12) who loomed as the big danger on the outside with the Michael Moroney-trained Araldo ($31) moving up through the field to finish off The Metropolitan trifecta at a juicy price.
“He did dig deep in a very courageous win,” Shinn said post-win.
“He was there to be beaten.
“It was a tremendous victory from a really tough, honest horse.
“He’s a big striding horse and he doesn’t really quicken off the mark.
“I was hoping the leaders wouldn’t stop but I was left in front, left a sitting shot but full marks to the horse.
“He was very brave today. He deserved a Group 1 and he’s been knocking on the door.”
Post-race runner-up Opinion’s jockey Tye Angland lodged a protest over Shinn and Junoob, but class and reason prevailed and the original winner survived the frivolous objection and held his Group 1 title.
“Two Group 1 winners on such a feature race day,” Shinn added.
“It’s very special and it’s great to do it for all the people who have stuck by me.”
Today’s The Metropolitan Handicap beaten favourite was Spillway who got a nice trail up behind Junoob.
But when Junoob quickened after turning onto the straight Spillway couldn’t and he dropped out of the mix.
“It was an interesting race,” Waller said.
“The pace was on, the pressure was on early and all the horses got into good positions really and Junoob got going early but to Blake’s credit he knew what to do.
“To top it off with an Epsom and Metropolitan with Mr and Mrs Towzell it’s a great day.”
Junoob is now looking right on track for a spring cups campaign in Melbourne over the coming weeks with the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) first on October 18.
From there the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1 is the obvious target, a race last year’s The Metropolitan winner Seville could only manage to finish 12th behind Fiorente in.
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2014 The Metropolitan Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 9 – 04/10/2014
|1||1||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||–||3||58kg||$5|
|2||4||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||0.5L||14||56kg||$12|
|3||9||ARALDO (GB)||Michael Moroney||Jeff Lloyd||1.3L||16||55.5kg||$31|
|4||10||KINGDOMS (NZ)||Brian Smith||Larry Cassidy||4.4L||5||55.5kg||$7.50|
|5||13||DISCLAIMER (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Christian Reith||4.6L||15||55.5kg||$26|
|6||2||BAGMAN||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||4.7L||12||58kg||$16|
|7||6||BRIGANTIN (USA)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||5L||11||55.5kg||$31|
|8||16||KHALID (GB)||Paul Perry||Thomas Huet||5.2L||7||55.5kg||$151|
|9||3||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||James McDonald||7L||9||57.5kg||$4F|
|10||15||IGGI POP (NZ)||John Sargent||Jim Byrne||7.5L||1||55.5kg||$31|
|11||7||LA AMISTAD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Corey Brown||8.8L||6||55.5kg||$10|
|12||5||TRAVOLTA (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Joshua Parr||8.9L||2||56kg||$17|
|13||11||WISH COME TRUE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Tim Clark||9.7L||4||55.5kg||$17|
|14||8||OUR VOODOO PRINCE (GB)||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||9.8L||8||55.5kg||$13|
|15||14||TUPAC AMARU||John O’Shea||Sam Clipperton||10.2L||13||55.5kg||$101|
|16||12||DEANE MARTIN (NZ)||Bruce Wallace||Chris Munce||29.9L||10||55.5kg||$26|