The Metropolitan is a staying feature that is run under handicap conditions. It is one of three Group 1 races on the Royal Randwick program which is headlined by the $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Flight Stakes (1600m).
Worth $750,000 in prizemoney, The Metropolitan has a rich history that dates back more than 150 years ago.
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.
Magic Hurricane is the most recent winner of The Metropolitan after starting favourite and defeating Beaten Up by two lengths in 2015.
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 Magic Hurricane who finished second behind Preferment; the form was franked with Preferment heading to Melbourne to win the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on the same weekend as The Metropolitan.
Another key lead up race is the Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) held at Newcastle two weeks earlier.
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.