Trainer David Hayes will be hoping for a case of history repeating itself when he saddles up Almoonqith in Saturday’s Metropolitan Handicap at Randwick. Almoonqith will carry the same colours as Hayes’ last Metropolitan winner Tawqueet – who then took at the Caulfield Cup at his following starts. Like Tawqueet, Almoonqith had his final hit-out for the Metrop in the Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield recently, where he ran an encouraging sixth. He’s rated an $8.00 chance in early markets win what has historically has proven a very hard race for punters to get right. Only one favourite in the past eight years – Glencadam Gold, has saluted whilst three of the past four winners have all started at a double figure price. Early favourite this year is Magic Hurricane ($3.80), whose stable-mate Magic Havana is $15.00. Beaten Up is the best chance of Chris Waller’s five runners at $6.50 ahead of Newcastle Cup winner Beyond Thankful ($13)
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1. BEATEN UP – G Schofield (2) 58kgs
Going well is the 8yo gelding who, third up from a spell, ran fourth (1.1 lengths) to Preferment in the Hill Stakes (2000m) a fortnight ago. Took some time to find a position outside of the leader last start but boxed on very well late. Gets a much more comfortable run here from gate two and ran third in the Group 1 BMW last start this trip earlier in the year – at 100/1. Going better now than he was then.
2. JUNOOB – O Posson (3) 57.5kgs
Great late when fifth (3 lengths) to Complacent in the WFA G2 Chelmsford Stakes before getting home steadily in the G2 Hill Stakes on an unsuitable wet track, finishing twelfth but only 3.6 lengths from Preferment. Co-incidentally, jumps from the same gate he did last year where, despite crossing the line first was subsequently disqualified due to a positive swab. Carries 1.5kgs less than on that occasion and provided we get a firm surface, wouldn’t be the roughest chance.
3. OPINION – T Angland (10) 57.5kgs
Second up from a spell competed in the G2 Hill Stakes where he held his margin in the straight to run eleventh (2.7 lengths) behind Preferment. They never really got away from him last start and the extra 400m here, definitely up his alley – as would be some cushion in the track.
4. BEYOND THANFUL – J Bowman (15) 57kgs
No stopping this mare at the moment that last start, finished strongly to claim the Newcastle Cup (2400m) from Orbec, making it four wins from her past five outings. Draws wide here but has also jumped from an unfavourable alley her last two starts and that didn’t stop here. Going as well as she possibly can and when a mare is in form……….
5. BONFIRE – B Shinn (12) 56.5kgs
He did very well in last fortnight’s Hill Stakes (2000m), his first run for nine weeks – on a soft track – with 59kgs. Went forward in the run and stuck on well to finish sixth (1.5 lengths) behind Preferment. Would only improve off of that run, drops nicely in the weight but draw may see the 7yo in need of some luck early to find a spot if he is to take up another forward position.
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6. HAWKSPUR – J Cassidy (14) 56kgs
The 6yo gelding has finished eleventh in each of his three runs back from a spell and it is hard to see how off of those efforts, he wins this, especially from his gate.
7. ALMOONQITH – M Walker (13) 55.5kgs
Imported galloper who signalled he may be close to producing his best after running an eye-catching sixth (1.7 lengths) to Magnapal in the G3 Foundation Cup (2000m) at Caulfield – his third run this campaign and in Australia. Ran sixth to Brown Panther in the Dubai Gold Cup (3200m) earlier this year and on that effort, and his Caulfield run, would expect to see him figure strongly here.
8. MAGIC HURRICAN – J McDonald (1) 55.5kgs
Appreciated the step up to 1800m, and the pull in weights, to get the better of Silverball late in the Listed Premier’s Cup and looked to have the Hill Stakes in his keeping when hitting the front inside of the final furlong, before Preferment kicked back to better him by a head. Had 59kgs last time out, gets back down to 55.5kgs, gets lovely run from the inside draw, and has good form around him.
9. CHANCE TO DANCE –
Outlasted his more fancied stable-mate The United States, when making his Australian debut two runs back for owner Lloyd Williams, winning an Open Handicap (1600m) at Moonee Valley. Stepped up in both distance and class when contesting the Hill Stakes at his only run since, holding his position to the line, running eighth (2 lengths). Fitter again and great record this trip overseas – all with weight much greater than he has been assigned here.
10. ORBEC – Z Purton (4) 55.5kgs
Luckless in her Australian debut and again when finishing a close third to Beyond Thankful in the Wyong Gold Cup (2080m) at her following start. Got a dream run in the Newcastle Cup (2300m) her only run since, but again Beyond Thankful, whom she meets worse at the weights, too good again and finished a long neck second. Going very well and hard to knock her form. Has a great draw here, top-jock, and will again give a good account of herself.
11. KAPOUR – G Boss (9) 55.5kgs
In his first run in over a month, the 6yo stuck on well enough when third (3.1 lengths) behind in-form pair Magic Hurricane and Silverball in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) before giving plenty of cheek from the lead position in the G3 Foundation Cup (2000m) at Caulfield his only run since, finishing fifth (1.3 lengths) to Magnapal. Will take up a similar position here and best chance comes with a drop of rain.
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12. DISCLAIMER – T Clark (6) 55.5kgs
The 6yo won last year’s Newcastle Cup (2400m) but in ten starts this year, has yet to fill a place. At his most recent start, only batted home in this year’s edition of the Newcastle Cup finishing eleventh and eight lengths from winner, Beyond Thankful. Impossible to see him turning things around.
13. MAURUS – J Collett (8) 55.5kgs
Lightly raced but improving stayer that booked his spot in this event with a half-length second to Silverball in the G3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at his most recent start. This is a step up in class again, and has an extra 1kgs to carry and prefer to see how he measures up this level.
14. HAVANA COOLER – J Moreira (11) 55.5kgs
Ran a cracking Australian debut behind Beyond Thankful before a totally opposite performance as race favourite in the Wyong Gold Cup (2080m), finishing last of the thirteen. Really started to warm to his task late in the Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) and with more luck inside of the final 100m, could’ve secured a place behind Silverball. Only the two wins from his twelve starts but the imported galloper appears to have the talent and at double figure odds, has shown enough for mine to a small each-way ticket.
15. GHOST PROTOCOL – T Huet (7) 55.5kgs
Won the Taree Cup before producing big finishes in both the Wyong Gold Cup and Newcastle Cup to run fourth (0.8 lengths) and sixth (1.8 lengths) behind Beyond Thankful on each occasion. Connections won this race with Newport at big odds back in 2008 – can they do it again.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Tough race with several form-lines to compare so trying to cover the bases with the selections. Beaten Up’s three runs back have been terrific and he’ll get every chance from the perfect draw whilst and it’s a similar scenario for Orbec. The two Victorian visitors – who come from what traditionally is a good form reference for this race, are both genuine hopes as is Godolphin’s pair, Magic Hurricane and Havana Cooler who attracts some attention at double figures.
1. BEATEN UP
3. HAVANA COOLER
4. MAGIC HURRICANE