Pre-field odds for The Metropolitan 2016 at Royal Randwick Racecourse this Saturday in Sydney are currently led by the Chris Waller-trained lightweight Sacred Master.
Of the 26 stayers nominated for this year’s edition of the $750,000 Group 1 McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan (2400m) on Epsom Handicap Day, the futures favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au is Newcastle Cup winner Sacred Master ($4.80).
The five-year-old Mastercraftsman gelding is a Kiwi import for Waller who has had just the four runs down under.
A Group 2 winner back in New Zealand and third placegetter in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) over the two miles back in March, Sacred Master broke his maiden status in Australia on September 16.
He won the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2200m) with 56.6kg on his back and drops notably to just 52kg for The Metropolitan this weekend.
Waller has won two of the past five editions of The Metropolitan Handicap with The Verminator (2011) and Opinion (2015) and is well fancied to take out his third trophy this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
The Verminator came off a fifth in the Newcastle Gold Cup and that same lead-up race also produced the following year’s Gai Waterhouse-trained The Metropolitan winner Glencadam Gold (2012) who completed the double.
Waller also prepares the current equal $6 second favourite for this year’s classic, Antonio Giuseppe having worked his way into the mix posting his fourth win on the trot over the weekend.
He is four-from-four in Sydney this campaign, the former New Zealand-trained Shocking four-year-old carting 59kg to victory in the first on Golden Pendant Day at Rosehill over the weekend.
If he heads into The Metropolitan Handicap field on the seven day turnaround, Antonio Giuseppe will drop down to the 50kg minimum, but is still in danger of being balloted out of the Group 1.
Apprentice Koby Jennings rode the horse to victory on the weekend and was full of post-race praise for the gelding who won by nearly three lengths.
“He went awesome,” Jennings told Racenet.
“I haven’t had one feel like that for a while.
“He’s a serious horse over 2000 [metres] plus. At the top of the straight all I did was drop my hands and the rest was all him. He’s a powerhouse.”
Also on $6 for The Metropolitan win this weekend in all-in betting is John Thompson’s evergreen veteran Sir John Hawkwood.
The eight-year-old Sir Percy gelding came to Thompson after a Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) second in the winter and ran a nice first-up second for the stable in Rosehill’s Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (200m) on September 10.
No eight-year-old has won The Metropolitan in over 30 years, but dropping from 58.5kg last start to just 53kg and getting up over the mile and a half (6-2-2-0), Sir John Hawkwood is rated a livewire hope.
The other best fancied hopes include the John O’Shea-trained Allergic ($10) who won last Saturday’s Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m), Waller’s Group 1 winner and Melbourne Cup placegetter Who Shot Thebarman, and the reigning champ Magic Hurricane ($12) also prepared by O’Shea.
The 2016 The Metropolitan final field of acceptances is due for released at 9:00am (AEST) on Tuesday morning.
In the meantime back your pre-field The Metropolitan betting selections from the odds below, prices provided by Ladbrokes.com.au!