The 2015 The Metropolitan field has been released and leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller will have five runners in the Group 1 event that will be held at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The weights for the 2015 The Metropolitan have been raised by three and a half kilograms following the removal of the natural top weights and imported stayer Beaten Up is set to carry the top weight of 58 kilograms.
Beaten Up has not recorded a race win since he returned to racing after a lengthy stint in the spelling paddock, but he has performed well without winning in both the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 22, the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) on September 5 and the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) on September 19.
Junoob and Opinion fought out the finish in the 2014 edition of The Metropolitan and they are both set to lock horns in the $750,000 race again on Saturday.
Junoob was the first horse across the line in The Metropolitan last year, but he was stripped of the race after he tested positive to furosemide and Opinion was instead awarded the race.
Beyond Thankful is another Waller-trained horse that has been included in The Metropolitan field and he is the only horse that will be taking winning form into the time-honoured race.
The Irish-bred stayer was the beneficiary of an outstanding Hugh Bowman ride when he took out the Listed Wyong Cup (2080m) on September 4 before he showed that he was capable of running out a strong 2300 metres in the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 23.
Waller’s The Metropolitan charges are rounded out by Hawkspur, who has failed to fire in his three race starts this preparation, but has previously performed well over 2400 metres in the Group 1 Queensland Derby and Group 1 Caulfield Cup.
Imported stayers dominate the 2015 The Metropolitan field and Godolphin have two talented imports in the race in the form of Magic Hurricane and Havana Cooler.
The Metropolitan has been the long-term goal for Magic Hurricane and he stamped himself as a genuine contender for the race when he took out the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 29 and he lost no admirers when he finished a close second behind Preferment in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on September 19.
Havana Cooler made a promising started to his Australian racing career in the Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15, but he failed to fire in both the Wyong Cup and the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes.
Other imported stayers that have been included in the 2015 The Metropolitan field included Gai Waterhouse-trained Bonfire, Dubai Gold Cup runner Almoonqith, Macedon Lodge-owned Chance To Dance, Ciaron Maher-trained Kapour, last year’s Newcastle Cup winner Disclaimer, Kingston Town Stakes runner-up Maurus and Paul Perry-trained Ghost Protocol, but the most interesting may be Orbec.
Orbec is yet to produce a poor performance since arriving in Australia, but he is still chasing his first win after being narrowly denied in the Merrylands RSL Club Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15, the Wyong Cup and the Newcastle Gold Cup.