The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller has a dominant hand in early entries for both the Epsom Handicap and 2017 The Metropolitan, including nine for the latter and the top four in betting for the staying showdown.
Racing NSW took nominations for both Royal Randwick features this week, Epsom Handicap Day to run on Saturday September 30.
Waller has 13 Epsom Handicap entries led by the mare Egg Tart as he chases his fourth win in the mile showdown in the last five years.
As for the day’s other major, this season’s Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) attracted 73 nominees.
Futures The Metropolitan betting is all Waller with four horses from his possible contingent leading all-in markets including the in-form Kiwi expat Up ‘N’ Rolling and progressive European import Life Less Ordinary.
Up ‘N’ Rolling has had four runs down under and has won his past two this time in, most recently over 2000m in a Benchmark 84 at Randwick last Saturday.
Life Less Ordinary has just the one Australian win on the record having saluted on debut down under at Caulfield back in April and was last seen running fifth to Winx in the Chelmsford Stakes over the mile last weekend.
Waller has prepared two previous The Metropolitan winners with The Verminator (2011) and Opinion (2014).
Other key entries for the stable this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival include Alward who boasts 2000m wins at Flemington and Rosehill from last month and well-bred Shocking five-year-old Antonio Giuseppe, who are the others at the top of betting.
Outside of the Waller crew the other top fancy in pre-field The Metropolitan odds is visiting New Zealand galloper Chocante.
The Stephen Marsh-trained gelding is also a progeny of former Melbourne Cup winner Shocking and won the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2200m) in Queensland over the winter.
The horse resumed with an eye-catching third to champion mare Winx in the Chelmsford Stakes and will only progress from that over the coming weeks.
Last year’s The Metropolitan winner was the John Thompson-trained veteran eight-year-old Sir John Hawkwood (2016).
This year Thompson has just one entry looking to go back-to-back in the race as a trainer for the first time since Gai Waterhouse with Coco Cobanna (2000) and Dress Circle (2001).
Thompson’s sole The Metropolitan hope in 2017 is Maurus, a horse who contested the 2015 edition running 11th to Magic Hurricane.
Other noteworthy The Metropolitan nominations taken this season include Waller’s consistent Wyong Cup placegetter Sayed, the Wyong Cup winner Destiny’s Kiss whose last Group 1 start was in the 2016 Sydney Cup and the Darren Weir-trained Articus.
The Epsom Handicap and The Metropolitan weights are released on September 18.
Check out the latest The Metropolitan 2017 odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au, home of the top Group 1 racing markets this spring.
2017 The Metropolitan Nominations
Royal Randwick – 30/09/2017
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