Alward Chance for The Metropolitan 2017

Chris Waller could have a lightweight chance for the 2017 The Metropolitan next month in Alward, a progressive import that races at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Alward will step out alongside stablemate Vaucluse Bay (pictured) at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Steve Hart

Alward will step out alongside stablemate Vaucluse Bay (pictured) at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Steve Hart

Waller has four horses contesting the $100,000 Pacific Boating Handicap (2000m) on San Domenico Stakes Day and has Aqlaam five-year-old Alward, racing in Sydney for the first time, on top of the quartet.

The lightly-raced European galloper has had three runs in Australia since joining Waller’s stables over the winter and broke his maiden status down under at Flemington last time out.

An impressive three length success over the 2000m on Flemington on August 12 from Alward has Waller confident the progressive stayer can be competitive again on the weekend despite a two kilogram rise up to 56.5kg.

“He couldn’t have been any more impressive last start,” Waller said on his weekly Stable Talk preview.

“He cleared out and won impressively.

“He’s a pretty bombproof horse, he does everything right, he’s no fuss and it will be interesting to see how he progresses.”

Hugh Bowman partners the horse from a nice barrier three draw and the latest odds at Ladbrokes.com.au for the race have Alward as the firming $2.70 favourite.

Waller is hoping Alward continues to rise through the ranks this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival giving him a chance to sneak into the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on September 30 on a nice light weight.

“He could be a lightweight chance in The Metrop if he keeps progressing but probably running out of time,” Waller said.

“He’d need to keep winning to keep that dream alive.”

Futures The Metropolitan 2017 betting are an open affair pre-nominations with Tom Melbourne and the Waller-trained Antonio Giuseppe considered the best early chances.

Waller chases a third The Metropolitan success having taken out the mile and a half feature with The Verminator (2011) and Opinion (2014), both winning at upset odds of $21 and $12 respectively.

Waller’s other runners in the mix against Alward on Saturday are Vaucluse Bay ($4.80) who now carries 58.5kg top weight after the scratching of King Viv (59/5kg), undefeated four-year-old Chatelard ($8.50) and the in-form Quick Defence ($13) coming off back-to-back thirds over 1900m at Canterbury this month.

Jockey Corey Brown is booked to ride Al Maher four-year-old Vaucluse Bay who won back-to-back Rosehill races before a dead last to King Viv at the track on August 12.

Waller is happy to forgive the galloper that run after it was found he was suffering from cardiac arrhythmia and passed a subsequent stewards-requested trial over an unsuitably short 1045m at Randwick on Monday.

“He seemed to trial well, it’s hard to get a gauge on the stayers over those short trips but I was happy with what I saw and he’s pulled up well,” Waller said.

“He’s remarkably held onto his weight very well so he’s obviously coping and can bounce back.

“We’ll probably just ride him a little more conservative, we’ll look at getting a bit of cover on him.”

To back Waller’s runners this weekend and to access all the best upcoming spring Group 1 racing odds head to our No. 1 recommended bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au.

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