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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IT will be a special day at Royal Randwick on Saturday for Group 1 debutants, Hawkesbury trainer Marc Chevalier and Central Coast jockey Jenny Duggan.

Chevalier has specifically recalled Duggan for Torrens in the $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m).

The expatriate Frenchman has never had a runner in a Group 1, and Duggan has never ridden in a major either – and both are understandably excited at the prospect.

Duggan has a real affinity with seven-year-old stallion Torrens, having ridden him four times for three wins (at Warwick Farm, Randwick and Newcastle in October and November two years ago) for his previous trainer Lauri Parker.

The trio of victories included her sole stakes success in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick at $20.

Even though Torrens is the rank outsider at $101 with for Saturday’s assignment, he is unbeaten at three starts over the Randwick 2400m of The MetropolitanI.

Chevalier is looking forward to Duggan riding Torrens again as he strives to get the horse back into winning form.

“I have been keen for Jenny to ride Torrens again for some time, and booked her through her agent Shaun Flaherty just after he ran in the Newcastle Gold Cup on September 15,” Chevalier said today.

“She knows the horse well, and it will be good to get her opinion as to how he feels.”

Chevalier had hoped to start Torrens in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick in April, but the horse pulled a muscle a week earlier in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) there on a heavy track, and couldn’t run.

He has had two runs back, and his trainer feels he can definitely improve on his 14th to The Metropolitan rival Military Mission in the Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m).

Being a seven-year-old stallion, he needs racing to get him to peak fitness,” Chevalier said.

“In an ideal world, I would have liked to have given Torrens one more run going into Saturday, but he needed to be spelled after being injured and time has beaten us.

“Nonetheless, his body condition is looking good.

“He will do his final piece of work in the morning, and his record at Randwick over the 2400m speaks for itself.”

Torrens will carry the No 11 saddlecloth and drew barrier 11, and Chevalier joked “there are a lot of 1’s there”, naturally hoping another No 1 goes up beside the horse’s name once The Metropolitan has been run.

Like Torrens’ trainer, Duggan is thrilled to have the opportunity to ride in a Group 1 for the first time on a horse she has enjoyed considerable success with.

“It’s great to get back on Torrens,” she said before leaving home to ride in the last couple of races at the Beaumont meeting at Newcastle.

“Normally I would have been riding at Newcastle on Saturday, but got the booking early for The Metropolitan, and was pleased when my manager Shaun contacted me about riding Torrens again.

“I will have to have a sweat to make sure I ride Torrens at his 52kg.

“It will be a huge thrill to make my Group 1 debut on a lovely old horse that I know so well.”

. Torrens is one of four provincial-trained horses contesting The Metropolitan.

The Kris Lees pair Cleveland (barrier 13) and Kalapour (3) will be ridden by Damien Oliver and Kerrin McEvoy respectively, and Mark Minervini’s Hosier (Jason Collett) had no luck when the draw was made, and will jump from the second outside barrier (17) in the 18-horse line-up.

Wyong Cup winner Benaud (Jamie Kah) and Newcastle Cup winner Military Mission (Rachel King) drew the inside and outside barriers respectively.

Kembla Grange trainer Kerry Parker’s classy mare Hope In Your Heart (Craig Williams) is the sole provincial representative in Saturday’s $1.5m Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), and drew barrier 10 in a capacity field of 20 plus one emergency.

She is the new favorite at $6.50 following the shock withdrawal of early favorite Pericles after the barriers had been drawn.

Newcastle’s gun apprentice Dylan Gibbons has mounts in both features. He partners Randwick Guineas winner Communist for Michael Freedman in the Epsom, and Wyong Cup runner-up Bois D’Argent for Annabel Neasham in The Metropolitan.

*Words John Curtis, September 26, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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