By Ray Hickson
It might be a case of the right place and right time for in-form stayer Stampede to crack it for a Group 1 win at the age of seven at Randwick on Saturday.
Age has certainly been no barrier to winning a Group 1 $750,000 Heineken 3 Metropolitan (2400m) in recent years and the entire, one of two runners from the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott yard, is arguably in career best form.
Stampede backs up after a comfortable all the way win in the Colin Stephen (2400m) last week and would be the first since Railings in 2005 to complete that double if successful.
Bott said the decision to back up was made easy by how Stampede came through the Rosehill win, his first attempt at 2400m.
“He raced at his best there last Saturday so there is a sense of timing about him,’’ Bott said.
“We gave him plenty of foundation to get him to this point. We’re not on the back foot trying to play catch up, he’s at the right end of his preparation.
“He’s relatively lightly raced for his age, he’s nicely weighted and this is a great opportunity for him to capitalise on a Group 1.’’
Stampede wins the Colin Stephen at Rosehill on September 28
The last stallion to win the Metropolitan was Seville in 2013 and as far as age is concerned the so-called pensioners have dominated with Patrick Erin (2018, seven), Foundry (2017, eight) and Sir John Hawkwood (2016, eight) winning the past three.
It’s expected Stampede and jockey Adam Hyeronimus, also chasing his first Group 1, will attempt another all the way win, the last to lead throughout in a Metropolitan was Gai Waterhouse’s eighth and latest winner Glencadam Gold in 2012.
“In fairness he got a good time in front, he was well rated by Adam but he had to carry weight (59kg) in doing it,’’ Bott said.
“We have a nice seasoned campaigner and a lightly raced improver in the race.’’
The latter is Japanese import Hush Writer and he’ll also be out to emulate Glencadam Gold who was the last Newcastle Cup winner to claim a Metropolitan.
Bott said the five-year-old is a strong stayer and is starting to come into his own.
“He can put himself on speed, we’ve seen he can settle now which is a big thing for him,’’ he said.
“We know he has a good turn of foot off a strong speed so he’s a bit more versatile and is in at the better weight.
“His ratings out of his last two runs have been excellent. It was a real staying test up there at Newcastle and he thrived on those conditions. He looks to be in a happy place at the moment.’’
Stampede is a $6.50 chance with TAB while Hush Writer is on the $9 line.