04/30/2008 11:00PM

True Mettropolitan returns in George Royal


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - True Metropolitan, the champion older male in Canada for the past two years, will make his 2008 debut in the $50,000 George Royal Stakes at Hastings on Saturday.

Trained by Terry Jordan, True Metropolitan began his 2007 campaign with a win in the George Royal and he should be a solid favorite to repeat. He will carry 122 pounds under the allowance conditions of the race.

True Metropolitan was turned out for the winter after winning the Grade 3 Autumn Handicap at Woodbine on Nov. 17. According to Jordan, True Metropolitan has trained forwardly for the George Royal, and he isn't too concerned that the race has been shortened to six furlongs from its traditional distance of 6 1/2 furlongs.

"He is a very sharp horse right now, so I don't think the slightly shorter distance will be a big problem," said Jordan.

True Metropolitan will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez.

B R Remark, trained by Brian Giesbrecht, looks like the main threat. B R Remark was the champion sprinter in British Columbia last year. His most important win came in the B.C. Cup Sprint.

"It won't be easy, but we are definitely in the race to win, and six furlongs could work in our favor," said Giesbrecht. "If he's ever going to beat True Metropolitan, Saturday will be the day."

Lord Nelson adds luster to the field. Trained by Dino Condilenios, Lord Nelson was the top handicap horse at Hastings from 2001-05. An 11-year-old gelding, Lord Nelson hasn't won since the 2005 John Longden. Nonetheless, he finished second in his only start last year and he has been training exceptionally well leading up to the George Royal.