Tag Archive for: Metier

Fry breaking new ground with French fancy Metier

Harry Fry will saddle his first runner in a Group One when Metier heads to ParisLongchamp for the Prix Royal-Oak on Sunday.

A Grade One winner over hurdles, the seven-year-old has proven equally proficient when crossing over to compete on the level in recent seasons, winning last year’s November Handicap at Doncaster and pouncing late to claim the Chester Cup this term.

Metier will now face his toughest challenge to date as he not only steps up in class, but bids to get his handler off the mark in France.

Metier (left) on his way to winning the Chester Cup
Metier (left) on his way to winning the Chester Cup (David Davies/PA)

Fry said: “We looked at our options for this time of year and we decided to aim at the Prix Royal-Oak. You would like to think with how the weather has been that conditions would suit.

“Obviously, he is going to have to step up again, but he won the Chester Cup the hard way, from a wide draw and coming from way back, when given a great ride by Saffie Osborne, so hopefully there is more to come from him and it will be interesting to see how he gets on in Group One company.

“We have had a handful of runners in France over jumps and things, but yet to bring home a winner, so it would be a great way to break that duck.”

Metier has not been seen since galloping to big-race success on the Roodee in May, with fast ground ruling him out of a possible start at Royal Ascot.

The necessity for a break kept Metier in his stable during the height of summer when the unseasonably wet weather would have made conditions ideal for the soft ground-favouring gelding.

However, Fry is hoping patience will be rewarded as his charge returns from over five months off the track.

“We haven’t seen him out since the Chester Cup success, but we did train him for Royal Ascot on the off chance the ground came in his favour,” the Grosvenor Sport ambassador continued. “Obviously, that was always going to be an outside chance.

“He needed to have a little break having been on the go all last winter, so we gave him a break and then almost immediately the rain started to arrive, which is typical.

Jockey Saffie Osborne will be reunited with Metier in France
Jockey Saffie Osborne will be reunited with Metier in France (David Davies/PA)

“We know him well enough now and what conditions suit and that is why we have waited and bided our time. Hopefully conditions have come right for him and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Metier is set to be reunited with Saffie Osborne for his cross-Channel adventure, where the duo will search for a third victory together.

Fry added: “I think Saffie would be pretty upset if she is not onboard and he is very much Saffie’s ride unless she tells me she is going to be elsewhere!

“I think she has been ticking off the days until she is reunited with him. She gave him a brilliant ride to win at Chester and also won the November Handicap on him and they have formed a great partnership.”

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Metier powers home to grab Chester Cup glory

Metier finished with a flourish to claim top honours in a thrilling renewal of the tote Chester Cup.

A Grade One winner over hurdles a couple of years ago, Harry Fry’s charge successfully reverted to the Flat to lift last season’s November Handicap at Doncaster under Saffie Osborne, who was again on board.

Results under both codes since have been mixed, but having returned to form with a second place in the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh last month, Metier was among the market principals for Chester’s £150,000 showpiece at 5-1 and produced the goods in a grandstand finish.

The seven-year-old was well back in the field for much of the two-and-a-quarter-mile journey, but began to make inroads on the leaders before the home turn and powered up the straight.

Zoffee got the better of a duel with 11-4 favourite Call My Bluff to grab the lead, but was unable to resist the late surge of Metier, who passed the post a neck to the good under his jubilant rider.

Osborne said: “It didn’t really go right through the race, I was too far back and he was all guts.

“I was saying what a tough horse he is, but he’s also extremely talented and still fairly unexposed at this trip on the Flat. You’d like to think there’s more left in the tank.

“He’s just got a lot of ability and for a big horse he’s very well balanced to go round a track like this. I was having to make up ground on a part of a track that I didn’t really want to have to, but he was making it feel very easy and I didn’t want to check his momentum.”

Harry Fry was thrilled with the victory of Metier in the Chester Cup
Harry Fry was thrilled with the victory of Metier in the Chester Cup (John Walton/PA)

Fry, paying his first ever visit to Chester, said: “We’ve had some good runs and near misses in big races, but this means such a lot – it keeps our head above the parapet.

“We knew the draw (stall 14) wasn’t ideal, but Saffie sat as far forward as she could. She’s given him an absolutely wonderful ride.

“Watching him go past here on the final circuit he was 12th, but all he’s done in the straight is keep rolling and rolling.

“He’s shown all his best form on slower ground, but getting the right horses at the right time is really what it boils down to.

“It’s my first time here at Chester and walking round the course I thought ‘what an amazing place’.”

Metier and Saffie Osborne after winning at Chester
Metier and Saffie Osborne after winning at Chester (Neil Morrice/PA)

Ben Curtis, rider of the narrowly beaten runner-up Zoffee, was proud of his performance in defeat.

He said: “That was a hell of a training performance by Hugo (Palmer), to have him near spot-on after seven months off.

“The race went well for us, it was a good battle to the line but possibly the winner might have been more race-fit. Take nothing away from our horse though, he’s run a blinder.”

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