Andrew Gibbons said it will be harder than last year to get down to 50 kilograms to ride Attention Run in The Metropolitan (2400 metres) but he's happy to do it for a horse he believes "should go very, very close" to giving him a first group 1 victory.
The top Hunter jockey rode Attention Run at 54kg when they were third in the group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) on September 18, but that was the lightest he had ridden at that month.
Like last year, Gibbons has the job at 50kg on the Kris Lees-trained mare in The Metropolitan, in which she was a 1.5 lengths away in seventh in 2019. She was second emergency for Saturday's edition of the $750,000 staying feature at Randwick but two scratchings on Wednesday guaranteed the six-year-old's spot in the 18-horse field.
It was a huge relief for Gibbons, who faces a tough time cutting weight from his usual mark of 55kg.
"I'd already been working on the weight for a week," Gibbons said. "When the fields came out it was a bit deflating but Kris told me to keep at it, keep our fingers crossed, and everything has worked out.
"It's obviously not going to be easy, but there's no use complaining. I knew what I got myself in for and I'm very happy to be doing it because I think she's a genuine hope.
"I'm not as close as I was this time last year [to 50kg], but I didn't start out as light. I'm a bit further off the mark but after doing it last year, I know what I've got to do, so I'm sure I'll be right on the day and still strong."
Attention Run, a $23 TAB chance for the race, has the advantage of gate one after coming from 10 last year.
"She got beat a length and a half last year and I think she's a better horse this year," he said. "I drew wide and even though I had cover, I was still three deep, which is never ideal. This year it's fantastic because I've drawn the right gate. I should get a perfect run and I'm going in confident she should go very, very close."
The German-bred mare was second in the 2019 Newcastle Cup to Hush Writer. This year, Mugatoo defied top-weight of 59kg to give Lees a first home Cup while Attention Run was third, again behind Hush Writer.
However, Gibbons was forced to stop riding Attention Run twice in the straight when Paths Of Glory shifted out in front of them. She recovered to hold out Paths Of Glory as Mugatoo finished two lengths ahead.
Mugatoo, which has gate seven, is the clear favourite at $2.70 for The Metropolitan, but Gibbons said Attention Run could turn the tables.
"If Paths Of Glory doesn't shift out, I think she runs second for sure. She lost all momentum," Gibbons said.
"And before it shifted out and Mugatoo got to me, I actually thought she was the winner. [Mugatoo] wasn't on the scene when that horse balked me the first time.
"It was never going to change the result, he's a very good horse Mugatoo. But I'm going in pretty confident because he's favourite, he carried five kilos more than her the other day and beat her two lengths. Now he's got to carry seven kilos more and go an extra 100 metres."
Lees also has Mustajeer and Raheen House in the race, while his apprentice, Louise Day, has the ride on Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Azuro at 51.5kg.er and David Eustace-trained Azuro at 51.5kg.
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