Nine-year-old proves he can break new ground with win
METROPOLITAN Chief showed last week that even at the age of nine he can break new ground for trainer Paul Burgoyne.
The son of Compton Place marked his 80th race by winning for the first time away from Wolverhampton – and for the first time over 5f.
All four of his previous career victories had been on the all-weather Midlands track at 6 -7f but on this occasion he achieved success on Kempton Park's synthetic surface by the narrowest of winning margins.
The gelding had not raced on an all-weather track over the minimum trip since early 2011 but Burgoyne says the horse possesses so much speed that he reckoned the distance would suit him even in the veteran stage.
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Despite missing the break Metropolitan Chief battled back under Sam Hitchcott to snatch the verdict on the line by a nose. The old-timer, who was having his first outing for six months, was the 20-1 outsider in the nine-strong handicap, odds that surprised Burgoyne and owner Corinna Leigh-Turner who both cashed in handsomely with the bookies. The handler from Knowle Rock near Wincanton said: "Metropolitan Chief had been working really well – he's got bags of speed. When the jockey Richard Quinn once rode him at home he said this horse should be running in the Group One Nunthorpe.
"He hadn't run for a long time but I knew he was fit to do the job – and he should win a race of that low class.
"Sam rode a good race even though they missed the break because Metro tends to throw his head up at the start. I told him not to hit the horse, so he rode him hands and heels, and not to hit the front too soon – he certainly followed those instructions to the letter."
Burgoyne has another Kempton Park 5f handicap lined up for Metropolitan Chief later this month.