The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The airborne Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained import Just Fine is tipped to continue his winning ways when he lines-up as the short-priced favourite in The Metropolitan 2023 field in Sydney on the weekend.
Randwick Racecourse will be set alight on Saturday with three elite level races taking place at the track for Epsom Handicap Day including the potential Caulfield Cup horses facing off in the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m).
The Metropolitan field features 18 spring stayers led firmly in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au by Sea The Stars six-year-old Just Fine at $2.
Lightly-raced having his 17th start on the weekend Just Fine is out to retain his flawless Randwick record having gone back-to-back at the track in his opening two Australian starts this prep.
The latest on September 16 saw him carry 55kg to a nearly two-length win in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m).
Just Fine drops a huge weight down to just 50kg this weekend with an ideal run pending from gate two with Rachel King aboard.
He is yet to win over the mile and a half so the distance is the only query, but with the light weight the money is coming for him to handle the 2400m and salute for the punters again here.
The fellow Waterhouse-trained Herculian Prince (2010) was the last horse to complete the Kingston Town Stakes – The Metropolitan double.
The next best in The Metropolitan betting this weekend with a notable gap back at $11 are Benaud and Mr Waterville.
John O’Shea’s Reliable Man grey gets the rails run from barrier one and will need to work to stay out of trouble from that inside alley in the big field.
Jamie Kah has the mount on 51.5kg with the galloper coming back from the 55kg he carried to run 1.7 lengths back second to Just Fine in the Kingston Town last time out.
Prior to that he was good winning the Listed Wyong Cup (2100m) in an upset at the start of the month.
Benaud however has had eight runs at Randwick without a win and is yet to salute over further than 2100m despite four previous 2400m runs arguably in easier company.
The other $11 second elect Mr Waterville is one four final acceptors for master Sydney horseman Chris Waller who is out to add to his imposing The Metropolitan Handicap record.
Waller has prepared five The Metropolitan winners since 2010 with The Verminator (2011), Opinion (2014), Patrick Erin (2018), Come Play With Me (2019), and last year’s champion No Compromise (2022) all saluting for the stable.
Camelot five-year-old Mr Waterville is the best fancied of the Waller contingent in 2023 with the form Aidan O’Brien-trained Irish expat having his third run down under.
The lightly-raced European has his 10th start and is a dour stayer sure to appreciate the 2400m with winning form right up to 3420m overseas.
The other Waller-trained The Metropolitan runners in this year’s event are Wineglass Bay ($51), Manzoice ($26), and Al Aabir ($17) who ran second in last Saturday’s Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality.
Other notable hopes chasing an upset win over the short fancy include stablemate to the favourite Major Beel ($13) who won the Group 1 Australian Derby at the course and distance over the autumn, and Kris Lees’ Irish import Cleveland ($15) with winning form up to 3749m.
2023 The Metropolitan Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||39x8663x00||KNIGHTS ORDER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Adam Hyeronimus||6||57.5kg||109|
|2||421222×018||NAVAJO PEAK||David Payne||Chad Schofield||15||55.5kg||105|
|3||1226x50x49||CLEVELAND (IRE)||Kris Lees||Damien Oliver||13||54.5kg||103|
|4||x11421x026||MAJOR BEEL (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||5||54.5kg||103|
|5||3×53152326||BOIS D’ARGENT (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Dylan Gibbons (a)||10||53.5kg||101|
|6||0x6x824193||HOSIER (IRE)||Mark Minervini||Jason Collett||17||53kg||101|
|7||281x860x80||MANZOICE||Chris Waller||Michael Dee||7||53kg||100|
|8||233×652332||SPIRIT RIDGE (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Regan Bayliss||14||52.5kg||101|
|9||381124×009||HO HO KHAN (NZ)||Mitchell Freedman||Ms Tahlia Hope||12||52.5kg||100|
|10||921213x3L7||KALAPOUR (IRE)||Kris Lees||Kerrin McEvoy||3||52.5kg||99|
|11||601x060x00||TORRENS||Marc Chevalier||Ms Jenny Duggan||11||52kg||97|
|12||9946581012||BENAUD||John O’Shea||Ms Jamie Kah||1||51.5kg||102|
|13||95319×9201||MILITARY MISSION (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Zac Lloyd (a)||18||51.5kg||1.5kg||100|
|14||x386061x11||JUST FINE (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Rachel King||2||50kg||105|
|15||22317×4672||AL AABIR (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jay Ford||8||50kg||50.5kg||95|
|16||61154×7212||FUTURE HISTORY (GB)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Dean Yendall||16||50kg||94|
|17||2312x18x74||MR WATERVILLE (IRE)||Chris Waller||Tyler Schiller||9||50kg||84|
|18||4216×42215||WINEGLASS BAY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Ms Kathy O’Hara||4||50kg||82|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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