Veteran stayer Spirit Ridge is enjoying a form renaissance this year and connections see no reason it won’t continue in the Group 1 Metropolitan at Randwick.
The gelding had been struggling for consistency before dropping back to benchmark company and posting a confidence-boosting win at Flemington in the summer.
Since then, Spirit Ridge has managed a top-three finish in seven of his nine runs, including his past two in the Wyong and Newcastle Cups where he led and was only run down in the final bounds.
Rob Archibald, racing manager for trainer Annabel Neasham, said the nine-year-old’s form was reflective of a sound and content horse.
“He does have a bit of a second wind,” Archibald said.
“It’s just about having him happy, physically and mentally.
“He is enjoying his racing and he’s been so consistent the last couple of preps.
“He’s drawn a bit wide (barrier 14) but if he can get a bit of luck from there, I think he’ll run well again.”
Stablemate Bois D’Argent will also line up in the Metropolitan (2400m) having followed a similar path.
Runner-up in the Wyong Cup, he got back to worse than midfield from a wide draw in the Newcastle Cup but closed late to finish sixth.
His only other attempt at the Metropolitan distance resulted in a solid second to Zoumon in the Caloundra Cup and if he can get some luck from barrier 10, Archibald says he has the quality to be competitive.
“I thought his run at Newcastle was full of merit, he was drawn wide and had to go back that day,” he said.
“We’re confident that out to the mile-and-a-half, he can see it out nicely.
“His work has been really solid, he’s a really genuine horse and on his day, he can certainly make his presence felt.”
With the early scratchings of Knights Order, Hosier and Future History, a field of 15 will contest the Metropolitan and Tulloch Lodge import Just Fine continues to stifle betting as a $1.75 favourite.
Kingston Town Stakes runner-up Benaud ($8.50) and untapped import Mr Waterville ($7.50) are the only other runners at single-figure odds, with Spirit Ridge at $31 and Bois D’Argent a $34 chance.
– RAS NewsWire