The 2017 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) will be held at Royal Randwick in October.
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One of three Group 1 races held on the day, The Metropolitan is a staying feature that is run under handicap conditions. It stands alongside the $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m) and the Flight Stakes (1600m).
There is a rich history associated with this Group 1 feature which is now worth $750,000 in prizemoney.
First held in 1863 when won by Regno, The Metropolitan has endured a number of name changes – Great Metropolitan Stakes, Metropolitan Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap and The Metropolitan.
Originally run over the Melbourne Cup trip of two miles (3200m), The Metropolitan has also been held over 2400m (its current distance) and 2600m.
It was a Principal Race until 1979 when receiving Group 1 status.
Sir John Hawkwood captured The Metropolitan in 2016 for trainer John Thompson. The victory was jockey Blake Spriggs’ first at Group 1 level.
The Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) held at the same venue two weeks earlier is a key lead up race and it was the race used by 2015 winner Magic Hurricane who finished second behind Preferment in the lead-up.
Other key lead up races include the Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) held at Newcastle two weeks earlier and the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) held at Rosehill Gardens three weeks earlier.
Sir John Hawkwood finished second in the Kingston Town Stakes before his triumph in The Metropolitan.
In 2014, the Chris Waller-trained Junoob claimed The Metropolitan in front of stablemate Opinion. It would later be revealed that Junoob would test positive to a prohibited substance and be disqualified from the event. Opinion would be upgraded to victor and Waller was handed a $30,000 fine.
Notable winners of The Metropolitan include The Barb (1868), Beau Vite (1940), Dashing Cavalier (1941), Delta (1951), Dalray (1952), Redcraze (1956), Monte Carlo (1958), Battle Heights (1976), Ming Dynasty (1978), Belmura Lad (1981), Hayai (1983-84), Te Akau Nick (1992), County Tyrone (2004), Railings (2005), Tawqeet (2006), Speed Gifted (2009) and Herculian Prince (2010).
Gai Waterhouse has won The Metropolitan on eight occasions. She has saddled up Te Akau Nick (1992), Electronic (1995), Hula Flight (1996), In Joyment (1998), Coco Cobanna (2000), Dress Circle (2001), Herculian Prince (2010) and Glencadam Gold (2012) to success.
Since 1983, three winners of The Metropolitan have gone on to claim the Caulfield Cup (2400m) at their next start – Hayai (1983), Railings (2005) and Tawqeet (2006).
In that time, one Cox Plate winner, Saintly (1996), has come through The Metropolitan at their start prior to claiming the Cox Plate; Saintly finished third behind Hula Flight and Nothin’ Leica Dane when beaten as $2.10 favourite.
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