2018 The Heineken 3 Metropolitan Handicap
Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney
Saturday 29th September 2018
Race 8: 4.45pm (AEST)
2400 metres, Open Handicap
64X52 1. AUVRAY (2), J: TYE ANGLAND, W: 57 KGS, 18.00
3X005 2. BIG DUKE (8), J: BRENTON AVDULLA, W: 56.5 KGS, 11.00
0X837 3. LIBRAN (16), J: HUGH BOWMAN, W: 56 KGS, 11.00
8220X 4. WALL OF FIRE (10), J: JAMES MCDONALD, W: 54.5 KGS, 12.00
13140 5. SEDANZER (5), J: TIM CLARK W: 53 KGS, 21.00
56X64 6. PATRICK ERIN (4), J: COREY BROWN W: 51 KGS, 12.00
X0X02 7. MIDTERM (17), J: MICHAEL DEE, W: 50.5 KGS, 15.00
67X39 8. ALWARD (1), J: MS KATHY O’HARA, W: 50.5 KGS, 41.00
7X351 9. MISS ADMIRATION (9), J: DEAN HOLLAND, W: 50 KGS, 6.50
2X332 10. BRIMHAM ROCKS (15), J: KERRIN MCEVOY, W: 50 KGS, 5.00
L1X33 11. SIN TO WIN (12), J: DEAN YENDALL, W: 50 KGS, 26.00
0X011 12. THE LORD MAYOR (7), J: JAY FORD, W: 50 KGS, 14.00
23X39 13. NETTOYER (14), J: MS RACHEL KING, W: 50 KGS, 67.00
12703 14. JUST SHINE (13), J: MS ALYSHA COLLETT, W: 50 KGS, 31.00
21134 15. SIKANDARABAD (6), J: JYE MCNEIL, W: 50 KGS, 18.00
10X11 16. HIGH BRIDGE (3), J: CRAIG WILLIAMS, W: 50 KGS, 8.50
2X675 17. OPPOSITION (19), J: ANDREW ADKINS, W: 50 KGS, 34.00
4X978 18. JAKE’S HILL (11), J: YUSUKE ICHIKAWA, W: 50 KGS, 81.00
00259 19. ROMANESQUE (18), J: FRED W KERSLEY, W: 50 KGS, 41.00
Form and Predictions
This years edition of the Metropolitan Handicap has drawn a big and exciting field. There are genuine chances everywhere. As a staying race, winning this provides a good guide toward the Melbourne Cup, with many previous years winners going on to the big race on the first Tuesday in November.
One notable feature in this race, are the amount of horses weighted 51kg or less. In fact, 14 horses are weighted in that category, with 11 carrying 50kgs. As a result, many top jockeys are riding light, including Kerrin McEvoy and Craig Williams.
I’m not quite sure how AUVRAY has ended up being top weight for this, considering he’s not won a Group 1, though he has won 6 times at 2400m and beyond. Perhaps it’s his senior citizen status which gives him 57kg at handicap conditions? Still, he’d need to go up a notch to beat this big field.
Darren Weir’s stayer BIG DUKE is a noted performer at distance, placing second in this last year, and running a solid fourth in last years Melbourne Cup to Irish visitor Rekindled. First up effort this prep was encouraging, but this is more like his preferred trip, and expected to figure in the finish.
This time last year, former Irish stayer WALL OF FIRE (formerly trained by Hugo Palmer) was considered a good thing going. Placed second in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes on Caulfield Guineas Day, and was well up in the betting for the Melbourne Cup. Has been off the scene since last November, and might surprise a few here. Not the worst. James McDonald to ride.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained SEDANZER comes into this race as an outside hope. Won the group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) over the winter, in what was a small and weak field. Despite an encouraging first up run in this new prep (behind Unforgotten in the Chelmsford Stakes), and not featuring in the Kingston Town Stakes last start (see video below), will find this much tougher.
I do like the chances of two former Kiwi gallopers, the South Islander PATRICK ERIN and THE LORD MAYOR, Patrick Erin is an out-n-out stayer much like his stablemate Who Shotthebarman, according to trainer Chris Waller.The punters tend to agree, judging by the market price.
The Lord Mayor, also with the Waller stable was previously trained in Matamata by legendary former NZ jockey Lance O’Sullivan, in association with Andrew Scott. TLM has won its last two starts (as recently as last Saturday), and had previously run fourth in the Group 1 2400m New Zealand Derby back in March (winner: Vin De Dance). Both horses are certain to feature.
Former English galloper BRIMHAM ROCKS is an interesting runner. He looks like the pre-race favourite. Just how he got there I’m unsure, because when compared to his rivals, his credentials are well off the pace. Still, the market must have a few insiders in the know. Either that, or they are spruiking their own opinion. We’ll know by Saturday.
You could include another former English horse HIGH BRIDGE into the same category as Brimham Rocks. This bloke has a background as a hurdler, so you just know he can longer distances. Recent form has seen two wins in BM70 and 74 races, hardly the sort of company to compare against a Group 1 field. Just how his SP is $8.50 beggars belief.
Of the others, MISS ADMIRATION might be worth an investment. She won the JRA Trophy last weekend over 2400m, and will strip nice and fit for this. She’s a two-time placegetter in both the Group 1 South Australian and ATC Oaks, so we know she can stay, but now she’s up against a field of proven stayers, and not just her own age groups as per last season. On face value, I think she’s up for the challenge.
Betting Gods Picks
Patrick Erin, The Lord Mayor, Miss Admiration
Video Reference Guide
2018 Kingston Town Stakes (Brimham Rocks, Patrick Erin, Libran, Sedanzer, Big Duke, Alward)