John Sargent is embracing a new approach to business but he will rely on a fondness for training stayers to deliver a Group One win at Randwick.
As Sargent prepares for an injection of youngsters with precocious bloodlines into his stable to keep up with the Australian way of racing, it will be a no-frills distance horse to carry his hopes in Saturday’s $400,000 Metropolitan.
Iggi Pop earned a Metropolitan start with his Colin Stephen Quality placing last week and while Sargent has a blueprint for his stable’s future, he won’t be surprised if the six-year-old is a horse for the moment.
“He’s a stayer who has to build and build the tempo in his races and that’s the way he will be ridden in the Metropolitan,” Sargent said.
It’s much the same way Sargent has mapped out plans for his Randwick stable after he left New Zealand just over two years ago.
After winning premierships in Malaysia and New Zealand, Sydney is Sargent’s most daunting frontier.
“It’s probably the hardest place anywhere in the world to break into but I like a bit of competition,” Sargent said.
In 2015 Sargent expects his stable to look much different from the one that has pinned its reputation to the VRC Oaks win of Kirramosa.
“I’ve had bits and pieces and obviously winning the Oaks was a big help but I’ve bought quite a few at the sales and they are due to come in now,” Sargent said.
“I’d say this time next year I’ll be ticking over nicely and having a lot of city runners.
“I’ve had to buy a lot more Australian-type horses but I also like the stayers.”
Iggi Pop is a hand-me-down from John O’Shea and his third start for Sargent resulted in a Queensland Cup win after an aggressive ride from Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne.
Byrne replaces Corey Brown in the Metropolitan.
Iggi Pop is a $17 chance in a race where a handful of stayers are trying to win their way into richer spring features.
None more so than the Victorian stayer Spillway who is trying to improve his chances of making the Caulfield Cup field.
Spillway heads to Sydney after an interrupted run denied him a proper chance in the Naturalism Stakes, a Caulfield race that has provided a lead-up run for three of the past seven Metropolitan winners.