Chris Waller’s Newcastle Gold Cup winner from last Friday Beyond Thankful has received a one kilogram weight penalty for Saturday week’s 2015 The Metropolitan at Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Sydney’s premier horseman Waller has won two of the past four editions of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival classic preparing The Verminator (2011) for his upset as a 20/1 outsider as well as last year’s The Metropolitan Handicap champ Opinion (2014) who carried 56kg to victory from a wide barrier 14 of 16 draw.
On October 3 this year’s edition of the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) is the headline staying showdown on Epsom Handicap Day and Waller has a dominant contingent looking to add to his ace record in the clash including Whipper six-year-old Beyond Thankful.
The gelding is now sitting number one on The Metropolitan ballot after securing his eighth career win at start number 35 late last week with a half-length win over Orbec in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) with Hugh Bowman aboard on 58kg.
Originally Beyond Thankful, who also won the Listed Wyong Cup (2080m) the start before with the same hoop (Bowman) and weight (58kg), was allocated 52.5kg for The Metropolitan for which he is now exempt from ballot.
A one kilogram penalty for his success at Newcastle takes that up to a still very manageable 53.5kg.
Two of the past four The Metropolitan winners had their final lead-up in the Newcastle Cup with Waller’s The Verminator (5th in 2011) and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Glencadam Gold (2012) who completed the double 12 months later.
Futures The Metropolitan odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by the John O’Shea-trained lightweight Magic Hurricane ($6.50) who is allocated just 52kg for the Group 1.
The Hurricane Run six-year-old won the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) two back at Rosehill before a close second to the Waller-trained Preferment in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) last Saturday at Randwick.
Zabeel four-year-old Preferment (53kg) won last year’s Victoria Derby as a colt over 2500m in Melbourne and occupies the second line of The Metropolitan all-in markets for Saturday week paying $10 for the win.
The three next best fancied also all hail from Waller’s successful Sydney stables with Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) winner Silverball ($11) on just 52kg, Beaten Up ($13) with 54.5kg who hasn’t won a race since the 2013 Doomben Cup and Beyond Thankful ($13).
Another race offering a The Metropolitan ballot exemption to the winner runs this weekend at Rosehill Gardens with the $125,000 Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality Handicap (2400m).
The last horse to win The Metropolitan off a run in the Colin Stephen Quality was Waterhouse’s Herculian Prince (5th in 2010) and this year eight-time The Metropolitan winning trainer Waterhouse has Bohemian Lily and King Kinshasa nominated for the weekend’s lead-up.
Waller meanwhile has just the one Colin Stephen entry in Choisir seven-year-old Reigning whose most recent run of note was a fourth to Bonfire in the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) back in July.
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