Metson faces stakes test at second start

Caulfield Guineas hopes for debut winner Metson will be put to the test when the gelding faces the current favourite for the $2 million race in a lead-up at Flemington.

The Mike Moroney-trained Metson won a 1300m-Cranbourne maiden by 4-1/2 lengths on a heavy track late last month and steps to stakes company for his second start in Saturday’s Listed Pin & Win Plate.

Saturday’s 1400m race for three-year-olds features the spring return of unbeaten colt Royal Symphony whose three impressive wins in the latter part of his juvenile season earned him early favouritism for next month’s Group One Caulfield Guineas (1600m).

Moroney admits it is a big step up for Metson on Saturday but he is keen to see how he measures up, with a Guineas campaign in mind.

“It’s a big jump up but we think he’s our best three-year-old,” Moroney said.

Royal Symphony is the $2.20 favourite ahead of Muraahib at $5.50, while Metson is at $21.

“There’s a lot of different form lines so it’s hard to match them up,” Moroney said.

Trainer Tony McEvoy has been pleased with Royal Symphony’s preparation which has included going to the races the past two Saturdays at Caulfield and Moonee Valley for exhibition gallops.

“I think the horse is in great shape going into this race and he’s fit and fresh, so he’ll improve nicely out of this,” McEvoy said.

Two of Royal Symphony’s wins have been at Flemington, where McEvoy has a base, including his 4-1/4 length success in the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) at his most recent start in July.

“He’s now taking on a new lot of opposition, so the bar is rising,” McEvoy said.

“But I’m looking forward to him taking that step and I think he can.”

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