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Ground puts Fighting Fifth off the agenda for Metier

Sun 21 Nov 2021

The lack of rain is causing havoc for many trainers and among those is Harry Fry, who will not be declaring exciting prospect Metier for Saturday’s Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.

The five-year-old rattled up a hat-trick of victories from four runs last season, which included a 12-length heavy-ground victory in the Grade One Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown.

Ranging between 10-1 and 16-1 in the ante-post market for the two-mile feature at the Gosforth Park track, Metier will not be making the journey north.

Fry said: “Metier won’t be going to the Fighting Fifth, because he will not have the ground he prefers.

“There are plenty of good races for him between now and Christmas and we are looking forward to seeing how far he can climb the ladder. He is only five and, of course, we will find out sooner rather than later if he is a handicapper or a graded hurdler.

“He is already a Grade One winner and he will be contesting graded races, but he has to go out and prove it off a mark of 144 and earn the right. We are very much looking forward to seeing if he can, but we are being held up by the ground.”

The same may well apply to the stable’s Boothill, who could have to wait for his chasing debut.

Third in a well-contested Listed handicap hurdle at Ascot last month, Fry is keen to send the six-year-old son of Presenting novice chasing and he holds an entry at Newbury on Friday.

Fry admitted: “We want to start Boothill over fences on Friday at Newbury. We think he is very talented horse, but again we will have to have a watching brief because the ground may come up too quick for him.”

In contrast, Evan Williams, who gained a welcome Grade Three success when Dans Le Vent landed the Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday, is praying the dry spell continues for Silver Streak.

Last season’s Kempton Christmas Hurdle winner was runner-up to Sceau Royal at the same track on his seasonal reappearance and is on course for the Fighting Fifth.

Williams said: “Unlike some, we are hoping the ground stays as dry as it is. The better the ground, the better it will be for him.

“Silver Streak is in good form and has been working well. It will be a tough race, but he will take his chance if the rain stays away.

“It was good to have a nice winner on Saturday and if Dans Le Vent never wins another race, he will still have done his job. He’s come out of that well, but we have no plans for him yet.”

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