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IT could be the biggest of “doubles” for Marc Chevalier!

Aside from chasing victory with his Group 1 runner at Royal Randwick tomorrow, the Hawkesbury trainer and his wife Charlotte are awaiting even more important news - the arrival of a new addition to their family.

“Charlotte is pregnant with our baby son, and is due anytime in the next few days,” a bubbly Chevalier said today.

“I had a runner at Moruya today ($2.90 favorite Criminal Art was runner-up in the 1650m Maiden Plate) but chose not to go as I didn’t want to leave Charlotte alone.

“The doctor has told us to expect our new arrival anytime in the next few days.”

It’s an exciting time for the couple with Chevalier looking forward to saddling his first Group 1 runner, Torrens, in tomorrow’s $750,000 The Metropolitan.

The seven-year-old stallion, to be ridden by Jenny Duggan, who has ridden him four times for three wins, is unbeaten from three starts over The Metropolitan course.

Earlier this week, Torrens was at $101 when the barriers were drawn on Tuesday morning, but he has firmed to $61 with

‘Some of our friends got $201 about him,” Chevalier said.

“I gave Torrens an exercise gallop toward the end of trackwork at Hawkesbury this morning, and he felt great.

“It has taken time to get him into racing trim after he pulled a muscle in the lead-up race to the Sydney Cup in April, and had to be rested.

“Hopefully, it will be a weekend we will never forget.”

Leading Sydney trainer Kris Lees has now made gear changes on both his Metropolitan runners, Cleveland (Damien Oliver) and Kalapour (Kerrin McEvoy).

Lees, who won the race in 2004 with County Tyrone, decided earlier in the week to put blinkers on Cleveland, and has also opted to put winkers on Kalapour for the first time instead of a nose roll.

“With the blinkers on, we will try to be more positive on Cleveland,” Lees said.

“He got too far back from an outside draw in the Newcastle Cup, and the shape of the race never changed, making it impossible to figure in the finish.

“The decision with Kalapour is simply about changing things up.

“I’m very happy with both horses. The market suggests there really isn’t much between them (both are at $21), and that’s how I feel.

“Obviously the favorite ($1.75 hotpot Just Fine) is going to be very hard to beat, but I’m expecting my pair to run well.

“They are in great order.”

The Metropolitan field has been reduced to 15 with the withdrawals of Hosier, topweight Knight’s Order and Future History.

As a result, Torrens will jump from barrier 10, Cleveland from 12 and Kalapour has drawn softer in three.

Lees also has decided to put blinkers on former New Zealand mare Bellatrix Black (Dylan Gibbons) in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1600m) at Randwick.

“The mile might still be a bit short for her, but she has come on nicely since her first-up run in the Tibbie Stakes (1400m) at home a fortnight ago,” Lees said.

Lees has a number of runners at Newcastle tomorrow, and is looking forward to both Kind Words (Super Maiden Plate, 1200m) and Power Of The Brave (Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1200m) resuming.

“They are both very nice young horses kicking off their three-year-old seasons,” he said.

“Kind Words ran well in two Sydney runs in June and July, whilst Power Of The Brave is unbeaten from his two starts, including the latter at Doomben, last season.”

Andrew Gibbons will ride the Lees stablemates.

*Words John Curtis, September 29, 2023 - Pics Inglis*

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