Junoob took out the Metropolitan Handicap 2014 at Randwick this afternoon in thrilling fashion.
In a race that was anyone’s for the taking, it would take a special effort to be first past the post. In the end it came down to the combined skill of Junoob and Blake Shinn, who coaxed the chestnut gelding to their second win in a row as a partnership.
Behind Junoob came Opinion under Tye Angland. In third place was widely-tipped Araldo, paying $8 for a place when the barriers opened.
At the close of betting before the race Spillway led the odds, followed closely by Junoob, Kingdoms and La Amistad.
Iggi Pop jumped well, as did Spillway, before the two settled close to the fore of the field. Chris Munce took Deane Martin wide early from gate 10, hoping for that signature sweep down the outside. Corey Brown held La Amistad close to Deane Martin, while Kingdoms with Larry Cassidy on board wasn’t far off.
The field took some time to settle, and when it did it was well strung out. Tupac Amaru brought up the rear and spent a good part of the race back there.
Early in Joshua Parr took Travolta to the front of the field just ahead of Iggi Pop and Spillway, with Wish Come True and Junoob not far behind jostling for an ideal position.
Munce’s punt worked well and Deane Martin came in early to take his place off the lead behind Travolta and Spillway as Iggi Pop fell behind Junoob.
Bagman held his position at around 13 lengths off the lead in good company with Tupac Amaru.
As the race evolved the field became more strung out, with Bagman holding the most comfortable position on the inside rail not too far off the lead but with the option to scoot wide if blocked. Brigantin, followed by Voodoo Prince and Araldo held the mid-field tightly in a fight for position.
As the final turn approached Jeff Lloyd kicked Araldo into gear at about the same time Tye Angland started pushing Opinion up the outside. Travolta, Iggi Pop and Deane Martin continued to contest the lead.
Junoob made a strong charge with Shinn urging the gelding onwards. Araldo made a great cut through the pack to threaten the leading pack, while Opinion was unstoppable alongside.
Junoob crossed the line ahead of the pack, with Opinion and Araldo finishing tightly.