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Key points about the Metropolitan Handicap

THE METROPOLITAN HANDICAP

2400m, $750,000, handicap

HISTORY

* First held in 1863 and won by Regno

* First held at Randwick in 1866 as the Great Metropolitan Stakes over two miles (3200m)

* From 2001 the race has been run at 2400m, following numerous changes to distance

* Upgraded to a Group One event in 1979 after previously being classified as a principal race

* Biggest Group One staying race in Sydney in spring and provides an important first step along the path to the Cups down south

* Trainer Gai Waterhouse had her first Group One winner with Te Akau Nick in 1992 and holds the record with eight Metropolitan winners, most recently with Glencadam Gold (2012)

* Among the earliest winners was the Ettienne de Mestre-trained Tim Whiffler (1867) who would be the first horse to claim the Metropolitan-Melbourne Cup double in the the same year. Not until Delta in 1951 could another horse complete the double but three others quickly followed – Dalray (1952), Straight Draw (1957) and Macdougal (1959)

* Junoob was disqualified after winning the 2014 edition

* Recent winners are Patrick Erin (2018), and two Irish-bred imports – Foundry (2017) and Sir John Hawkwood (2016)

* Foundry (2017), Seville (2013) and Tawqeet (2006), are the only Metropolitan winners since 2003 – to come off a non-NSW lead-up race

NOTABLE WINNERS:

* Tim Whiffler (1867), The Barb (1868), Beau Vite (1940), Delta (1951), Dalray (1952), Redcraze (1956), Straight Draw (1957), Macdougal (1959), Analie (1973), Battle Heights (1976), Ming Dynasty (1978), Born To Be Queen (1986), Natski (1988), Te Akau Nick (1992), Electronic (1995), County Tyrone (2004), Railings (2005), Tawqeet (2006)

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING:

“I think four-year-old mares are well placed now that they’ve adjusted the weights. Last year the first five across the line were weighted between 50 and 51 kilos so that tells you it’s a good lightweights race” – Scarlet Dream’s trainer Mark Newnham

“Obviously you get a kick out of all your horses but if she happened to lob or run into the money, I’d get a big thrill” – Our Attention’s managing owner Jamie Lovett

“I’m chasing my first Metrop but I’ve got the right partner. She’s won eight. We have two excellent chances in Hush Writer and Stampede” – Gai Waterhouse’s training partner Adrian Bott

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