It’s not often that Group 1 race ends up being the easier target but that could be the case when the talented Stockman lines up in Saturday’s The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.
Trainer Joseph Pride has been elected to contest the $750,000 staying test after also accepting in the $1m Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at the same meeting.
Just eight runners have accepted for the Hill Stakes – as opposed to 15 runners in the Metrop – but Stockman would have taken on the likes of four-time Group 1 Montefilia winner in the alternate race.
“The Metropolitan was always Plan A, we just thought we would put in a nomination because we thought it might fall away which it has but Montefilia is still there and she is one of the best horses in the country so we don’t really need to take her on,” Pride said.
“It’s obviously not the strongest Metropolitan. He will carry topweight.
“Other than Kukeracha there isn’t a Group 1 winner in the race and it’s not often you see that in too many Group 1s.”
Pride was keen to get Stockman over the 2400m trip of The Metropolitan after solid lead up runs in the Winx Stakes (ninth placing), Chelmsford Stakes (sixth) and Kingston Town (fourth).
Stockman is a winner of the Listed Caloundra Cup over the same journey while he was excellent when finishing runner up to Duals in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes during the autumn.
“When we got him to 2400m last time we really saw a peak run, probably the best run of his life when finishing second to Duals,” Pride said.
“He is a genuine mile and a half horse and looks to be right in that race on Saturday.”
TAB rated Stockman, who will be ridden by Sam Clipperton, as a $7.50 chance for The Metropolitan and the gelding’s price could firm further should forecast wet weather lash Sydney.
Up to 40mm of rain has been forecast in Sydney before race time and Stockman boasts dynamite wet track form with four wins to his name.
“He loves it heavy so it will be no dramas,” Pride said.
“At the start of the week I was hoping it would be a six or seven so I could run Private Eye as well but I have given up on that and I would say he won’t get the track to suit.
“I would say it will be heavy and that’s what Stockman wants.”
Pride is set to have a strong hand at Randwick on Saturday however if the rain comes last year Epsom Handicap winner Private Eye will line up in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington instead of the Group 2 Premiere Stakes, where stablemate Brutality will line up.
Originally published as Joseph Pride confident Stockman is ready to give Group 1 The Metropolitan a shake