The Sydney Spring Racing Carnival has seen the addition of numerous flashy new races in recent years, but The Metropolitan is not one of them. It’s one of the oldest, most prestigious events in the state, and this is what you need to know about it.
History of the race
The history of The Metropolitan dates back more than 150 years, with the event having first been held in 1863 when Regno was first over the line. Initially known as the Great Metropolitan Stakes, the race was run over 3,200 metres for 57 years, until it was reduced to 2,600 metres in 1920 — a distance it remained at until 2001, when it received its most recent reduction down to 2,400 metres.
The race has long been a target for some of the best stayers in the country, and many quality horses have saluted over the journey. Taking place early in the Spring Carnival, it provides a perfect base from which to attack even more prestigious races later on in October and November, with the Caulfield Cup a particularly common race for Metropolitan entrants to target.
The race details
As mentioned, the race — which is run under open handicap conditions — is 2,400 metres long, making it suitable for stayers, and horses must be at least three years of age to enter into the race. It’s held at the Randwick Racecourse, which means the 2,400 metres over which it is run is roughly one full circuit. The jump takes place just short of the final post, with horses running slightly over one full lap of the sweeping Randwick circuit.
In total, $750,000 is up for grabs in this Group 1 race, with $430,500 of that going to the winner. This prize pool means it sits around mid-tier in terms of Sydney Group 1 races – of the 28 total throughout the course of the year, 13 offer at least $1 million, while the remaining 14 have a prize pool of less than that of The Metropolitan.
Interesting facts about The Metropolitan
In recent years, The Metropolitan has proven to be a particularly difficult betting race, with only one favourite getting over the line in the 15 editions of the event between 2006 and 2020 – those who were on Mugatoo last year will be well aware of that, after he was nabbed on the line by Mirage Dancer.
There are also a couple of major droughts currently running at The Metropolitan, both of which it’s important to be aware of. Mares have had a really rough time here, with Coco Cobanna the last of them to win the event in 2000. Five years later, then-four-year-old Railings took out the event in the same year that he took out the Caulfield Cup – in the 15 years since then, no horse younger than five years old has been able to get the chocolates at this event.
A race which has stood the test of time
The Metropolitan is one of the oldest races in Australia, and has long been considered one of the premier staying races in New South Wales. Despite the development of new races such as The Everest and The Golden Eagle, it remains one of the most prestigious events in Sydney, and when the 2021 edition of the event jumps on the 2nd of October, all eyes will be on Randwick.