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Kiwi galloper Chocante is still on track for a shot at the 2017 The Metropolitan Saturday week at Royal Randwick according to trainer Stephen Marsh despite a failed run last weekend at the track.
Winner of the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2200m) at Doomben during the winter, Shocking gelding Chocante kicked off his spring bid with a huge run earlier this month.
First-up the now five-year-old was third past the post behind superstar mare Winx in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) as a $31 roughie.
Things went amiss last Saturday however when Chocante lined-up at a much shorter quote of $4.60 in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m).
Ridden by Blake Shinn for the first time, Chocante finished over three and a half-lengths back seventh behind the Chris Waller-trained Sydney Cup placegetter Libran.
Waller dominated the race training the first four past the post with Libran followed home by Antonio Giuseppe (2nd), Life Less Ordinary (3rd) and Who Shot Thebarman (4th) with only two lengths separating first – fourth.
The first three of those stablemates past the post are now also the equal $8 favourites in futures markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on September 30.
Waller has prepared two previous The Metropolitan winners with The Verminator ($21 in 2011) and Opinion ($12 in 2014).
Chocante meanwhile has drifted out to $13 in the all-in The Metropolitan odds, but Marsh remains convinced the galloper can atone.
“He wasn’t ready to produce what he was asked to produce on Saturday,” the Cambridge-based trainer told Stuff NZ.
“He ran his 600 metre sectional from the 800 to the 200 in 34.2 seconds.
“It was exactly the same time he ran his last 600 when he won the Brisbane Cup.
“He couldn’t sustain his run to the line which is quite understandable, the jockey made an error of judgement.
“He bounced through the run well and had a trot on the treadmill on Monday and a quiet trot and canter at the track on Tuesday and he’s very well.”
Shinn will be replaced in the saddle for The Metropolitan by jockey Corey Brown who has ridden two previous winners: County Tyrone (2004) and Speed Gifted (2009).
In the Kingston Town Stakes Chocante carried 57kg and he will drop in weight for the Group 1 currently allocated 54.5kg in The Metropolitan handicaps.
The last New Zealand-trained The Metropolitan winner was the Donna Logan-trained roughie Victory Smile ($21) back in 2002.
Along with Chocante, the only other Kiwi in the mix this spring of the 73 The Metropolitan nominations is Megablast who sits 29th on the order of entry with 51.5kg.
Megablast is also at a big price of $34 after the Nigel Tiley-trained six-year-old’s ninth in the Kingston Town Stakes.
To back your favourite early The Metropolitan 2017 tips at the right price, head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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