Wu Gok fought back to win the 2020 Winter Cup at Rosehill. Photo: Steve Hart.

2020 Winter Cup Winner Wu Gok Races into The Metropolitan Contention

June 13th 2020

Trainer Chris Waller named the Group 1 The Metropolitan in October as the long-term plan for his in-form stayer Wu Gok who celebrated another feature race win with a fighting victory in the Winter Cup 2020.

The Sebring six-year-old caught the eye first-up at big odds winning the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) in the wet as a $20 shot in an all-Waller trifecta on May 30.

Waller again prepared the first three past the post in the Listed $150,000 Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on Saturday, Wu Gok relishing another Heavy track to salute for the punters as the easing favourite.

The horse was as short as $2.50 in Winter Cup betting at the start of the day but was on the drift all morning eventually jumping at $3.60 through Ladbrokes.com.au.

Jockey Adam Hyeronimus got his mount out to a soft lead and ran along at only three-quarter pace.

Wu Gok was the comfortable front runner throughout with Sweet Thomas sliding up from a three-wide position to settle second on the leader’s outside, while Waller’s Lord Mayor’s Cup runner-up Yulong Prince was tucked away on the rail in third.

Hyeronimus eventually quickened-up the pace at the 800m with Wu Gok leading around the turn onto the straight.

Carzoff was coming with a rails run, while Yulong Prince was nursed up into second by jockey James McDonald putting the challenge to his stablemate and last start conqueror.

Yulong Prince beat off the favourite with 150m to go and looked the winner, before Carzoff knuckled down and looked the danger.

In a thrilling finish however Wu Gok off the soft run up front had enough in the tank to fight back and in a second burst, got the bob of the head to salute ahead of Carzoff and Yulong Prince who just didn’t follow through.

“It was good to see the three stablemates fight it out,” Waller said post-race.

“It was quite an intriguing race the last 100m. It’s not often they come back.

“He won another race, he’s doing a great job.”

With Waller all but ruling Wu Gok out of the Listed $200,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) on July 9, he said the horse was likely to back-up in the Listed $120,000 W J McKell Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on June 27 before being put away for a shot at the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 3.

“I don’t think he’s really a Grafton Cup horse,” Waller said.

“We’ll just send him back to the farm now…there is a race over 2000m in two weeks or we might even just freshen him up and get him ready for a Metrop.”

All-in The Metropolitan 2020 betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Wu Gok in from $41 to $31 following the Winter Cup results and is available in full here.

-Lucy Henderson, races.com.au