Duke’s Big chance

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - MATT JONES

FOR­GET Big Duke’s 10 th of 15th fin­ish in last week­end’ s Nat­u­ral­ism Stake sat Caul field, he’s ready to per­form on Satur­day in the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropol itan (2 4 0m) at Randw ick.

That’ s the opin­ion of his star jockey Bren­ton Avdu l la, who said a suc­cess­ful formula last prepa­ra­tion should peak him at his pet dis­tance to­mor­row.

The six-year-old ran su­per in tree Syd­ney starts in the au­tumn with wins in the Man ion Cup, Chair­man’ s Hand­i­cap and a fast fin­ish­ing third in the Syd­ney Cup.

Av dull a knows rainer Dar­ren Weir has him primed for the 2400 m–a dis­tance he’s only lost over once in three starts.

That was sec­ond-place fin­ish in the Ho­bart Cup, which Av dull a rode him in.

“He prob­a­bly should beun de­feated at the 2400 m so I’m look­ing for­ward to rid­ing him ,” he said.

“His first cou­ple of run st is prep were good and even though he was prob­a­bly a bit plain last Satur­day this hasl ways been t tar­get for him.

“I’ve won plenty of races be­fore on the back-up and I thought he han­dled him­self in the pre­vi­ous prepa­ra­tion at Syd­ney way of go­ing and he de­serves his chance to win a Metropoli­tan.”

At the bar­rier draw at Rand­wick on Tues­day Av dull a found out he’d be­com­ing out of the nice gate six and won’t have prob­lems find a cosy spot as the field quickly makes it to the first turn.

“It’ s on a small field of 12 horses and he’s beaten most of them be­fore ,” he said.

“He’s four runs in on a quick backup and he’s got good form at the track against some of the best horses in coun­try. He won two weeks be­fore her an third in the Syd­ney Cup so I’m look­ing for­ward top art­ner­inghm.

“The boys wouldn’ t have brought him up here for just a bit of fun .”

Big Duke stayed at $6 with the TAB fol­low­ing the bar­rier draw, as did ant her Aus­tralia Blood­stock run­ner,Gai Water­house and Adrian Bot t-trained Broad­side.

He’s been given two run sat 2300 m( New­cas­tle Cup) and

40( Colin Stephen Qual­ity) in the past fort night which Bott said was needed be­fore he tackle sT Metropoli­tan fourth-up.

“He’s pulled up su­per an­dob­viou sly he’s got afewuns on the board run­ning in the New­cas­tle Cup then back­ing up last Satur­day and now into this Satur­day ,” Bott said.

“We just felt we needed to get the miles into his legs. We pre­ferredt hat op­tion rather than go­ing into The Metropoli­tan third-up and had quite an east run last week­end with the way the race was run .”

He has led h is past two and from bar­rier nine should have no prob­lem dic­tat­ing the race up­front as he looks to add to his New­cas­tle Cup win in what would be a su­per prepa­ra­tion.

“He’ ll able to fire upon Satur­day. You need a rock-hard fit horse to win Group 1 over 2 4 0 0m and that’s what he is now ,” Bott said.

Mean­while, Av dull a is look­ing for­ward to his sec­ond ride on sprint star Chau­tauqua at Rand­wick on Satur­day in the Group 2 Pre­miere Stakes(1200m ).

He’s learn ta lot about the Team Hawk es-trained grey since patne ring him to an eye­catch­ing seven thin The Shorts.

Big Duke is on track to make amends in to­mor­row’s Metropoli­tan at Rand­wick.

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