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Metier ended a frustrating week for the yard with a brilliant success in the November Handicap on the final day of the flat season at Doncaster with the help of a cool ride by Saffie Osborne.

Unseasonably quick ground at so many courses has made life difficult for jumps trainers over the past few weeks.

Metier is one of mine who relishes deep ground. It cannot be soft enough for him. So with options over hurdles impossible to find for him at the moment I felt it was worth a shot at the November Handicap in his favoured conditions.

Although he hadn’t run on the flat for a while he has been going well at home and seemed fine when I put him through the stalls on Thursday morning.

I told Saffie to treat the ride as a racecourse gallop and to ride him to finish well. She carried out her instructions to the letter, soon had him placed in a lovely rhythm just off the pace, and brought him through with a steady run to win with something to spare.

Metier has been such a fun horse for us and has earned considerable prize money with five victories from nine starts. When the ground is almost unraceable he is relentless. I wanted to run him in the Chester Cup until he had some puss in his foot but as it turned out the ground dried up on the day.
I find myself in the unexpected position of having a 100% strike rate on the flat this season with three winners from three runners. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a few more dual purpose horses like Metier.

I schooled him over fences recently which I concede was an unusual preparation for an ultra competitive handicap on the flat. He’s not certain to go novice chasing but one firm plan is to take him back to Lingfield for the meeting in January where he won a £100,000 handicap hurdle at the start of this year.

Photo Credit – Nigel Kirby

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