Possible 2015 The Metropolitan Target for Centre Pivot

John Sargent’s improving galloper Centre Pivot was back in form second-up earning a possible The Metropolitan 2015 target this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival when beating home the favourite in the third at Rosehill on San Domenico Stakes Day.

Centre Pivot (outside), Countryman (inside)

Centre Pivot (outside) beat home odds-on favourite Countryman (inside) in the Spring Preview at Rosehill on San Domenico Stakes Day. Photo: Steve Hart.

The More Than Ready gelding won three on the trot in Sydney over 1500 – 2000m during a smart autumn campaign, but things went amiss in his resuming run at Rosehill a fortnight ago when beaten over six lengths first-up over 1300m by Countryman.

Sargent’s five-year-old met his last start conqueror again second-up back at Rosehill this weekend in the third race of San Domenico Stakes Day – the $85,000 Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club Spring Preview (1400m) – and this time was able to turn the tables.

It was the ride that won the race with jockey Blake Shinn told to go with his gut and settle where the pace suited, the hoop opting to go forward and settle Centre Pivot second off the speed set by the Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Countryman.

Tim Clark rode the market leader who, as expected, got an uncontested lead after a gun jump from a wide barrier eight of nine draw in the handicap clash.

After winning at the start, Countryman led from Centre Pivot with the Chris Waller-trained stakes winner Rugged Cross in third just ahead of the Joe Pride-trained Adorabeel who was third behind Countryman first-up last time out.

Shinn allowed Countryman to relax in the lead, unpressured, and the horse switched off nicely as Centre Pivot tracked on his outside.

Ridden quietly into the straight, odds-on favourite Countryman ($1.80) was quickly challenged by the eventual winner with Centre Pivot ($10) really laying down the challenge 200m from the line.

The duo went stride for stride over the closing stages but Centre Pivot was able to just edge out Countryman on the outside while the well-supported Magic Hurricane ($5.50) for Godolphin finished off the trifecta in third.

Back in form second-up running down the front running favourite in the Spring Preview was exactly what Centre Pivot needed to be doing to prove his ability and continue onto bigger and better things this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.

A clever ride from Shinn helped as he put himself on the outside of the danger in the race, putting the pressure on Countryman and coming up with the win.

“I told him (Shinn) to go either way, back or forward and to judge the pace,” Sargent said post-win.

“He went forward and put the pressure on.”

Pleased with his Spring Preview winner, Sargent was keen to get Centre Pivot out over more distance in the coming weeks with improvement expected from the progressive staying type who has winning form up to 2000m so far.

“There’s more to see from him,” Sargent said.

“Out over a mile, mile and a half, we’ll see his best.

“He’s got a bit of class about him so that run should bring him on immensely.”

Having now won six of his 14 starts, Centre Pivot could be set on an elite level mission this season with a possible run in the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) over the mile and a half at Royal Randwick on October 3.

Sargent also had the 2015 The Metropolitan on the agenda for his Mastercraftsman mare Thunder Lady, the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes third placegetter from the autumn last seen running fifth to Gust Of Wind in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) over the track and distance back in April.

The four-year-old also resumed in the Spring Preview, but failed to make up any ground finishing dead last after jockey Tommy Berry took her back early.

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