Preview: Epsom Handicap

Don’t forget the racing this weekend! Our NSW analyst Nathan Snow has a full rundown of the main event, the Epsom Handicap, in this week’s preview.

Randwick Race 7: TAB Epsom Handicap (1600 metres)
Group  handicap, three-year-olds and up

The lay of the land

This is a ripping race this year. Like the great Randwick miles of the past, we have a good spread of weights and you can make a legitimate case for every single runner being capable of winning the race. The rail in the 3m and a likely good track should make for fair conditions.

The speed story

The map here has Fabrizio leading and rolling along with the light weight.  Le Romain and Mackintosh will be looking to trail having been drawn inside, with Dibayani and Sons of John  looking to to be positive from their wide draws to get across.

In the mix

Hauraki (O’Shea / McDonald) returned this prep a much improved animal. It had a super win first up on an unsuitable wet track, sprinting home fast off a slow pace, and followed it up with a strong second to Winx, only beaten by 1.3 lengths. Drawn to get a traffic-free run somewhere in midfield, and the one to beat off its runs this preparation.

Both runs by Happy Clapper (Webster / Avdulla) this prep have been solid with things against it. It loves the Randwick 1600, and has had similar runs as last prep when it beat all bar Winx third-up in the Doncaster. Gate 1 means it doesn’t need to get too far back, and just needs a bit of luck securing runs in the straight to be in the finish.

Macktintosh (Waller / Berry) is a lightly raced type on the up.  It did it’s early racing in New Zealand, before resuming for the Waller stable last prep, where it raced through the grades before failing to stay in the Queensland Derby. Two very good trials this time indicated it had improved at it’s second prep for the stable, and it won well first-up. This is up in grade again, but gives every indication it’s capable of stepping up here given a beautiful run from the draw.

Stablemate McCreery (Waller / McEvoy) is also lightly raced and on the up. It improved last start with the blinkers off, recording an easy win over 2000 metres.  I’m not convinced coming back to 1600 metres suits this horse, but the stable has done it successfully before and it does get a good run in transit here.

Meanwhile, Vanbrugh (Waller / Newitt) hasn’t quite lived up to what it showed as a spring three-year-old. It was disappointing last prep, but has shown better signs this time.  Both trials were OK, before fair runs in completely unsuitable races. Gets a big weight drop and looks to have been set for this race.

Finally for the stable, Torgersen (Waller / O’Hara) is also racing well this prep – it lacks early speed but sprints home quickly.  First two starts this prep were in weaker grades, before it got wide and ran on well behind Sons of John.  Looks to get a soft run, and with the light weight, can use it’s turn of foot to be in the finish here.

Sons of John (Attard / Boss) is a consistent on-pace type from a young stable on the up. It did a good job winning one of the lead-ups, but had everything to suit that day. The draw is trickier here. Doesn’t quite have the class of the others, but if it gets across early it can fill a place.

Heavens Above (Martin / Brown) is a consistent mare in form, who always sprints home well. It lacks tactical speed, but does possess a closing sectional as good as any of these.  All three runs this prep have been in weaker mares races that have all lacked the tempo that’s likely here. The jockey is also a concern, but it’s still a live chance here.

Le Romain (Lees / Bowman) is a consistent and honest horse who gets a soft run here trailing the speed. It had things to suit behind Hauraki two starts ago, before a just OK run at Newcastle last start. Not quite up to these, and slight concern at a strong 1600m, but will get it’s chance given the map.

Mighty Lucky (Cowell / O’Brien) resumed with a nice run behind Sons of John when taken back, and hit the line well. It’s suited up to 1600m, but is a query getting there second up in such a solid race, with a tricky barrier likely to make the run in transit tougher

Melbourne runner Palentino (Weir / Zahra) can sprint home very quickly.  He had a strong win last start over 1600 metres, but has to travel here to race some very good horses, giving them weight. Weir is yet to have a winner in Sydney (from limited numbers), and the jockey is a concern away from home too. Clearly a talented horse, but I’d rather oppose in this race at the current odds.

Dibayani (Hayes & Dabernig / Lane) is an honest type who stuck on well behind Hauraki second up, when it had a nice run in transit. But it may have to do a bit of work here early, and I’m not a fan of 28 days between runs – especially for a race over the Randwick 1600m.

There was nothing in the first seven starts from Fabrizio (Waterhouse & Bott / Victoire) that suggested to me it would be ready to compete in a race like this. It’s last start, however, was a very good win – the race was only fair, but the figures returned were very solid.  It’s lightly raced, so could just be putting it all together now, but I’m always a little wary of a run so ‘out of the box’.  I’m happy to be against here at the current odds in such a solid race.

Snowy’s Tips

This is a really open race with my market having six horses priced between $6.5 and $12. I think Mackintosh is the best value of those in the market, and may well start longer tomorrow.  I’d get on it each-way.

Hauraki, Happy Clapper and McCreery also have tremendous chances, with the best roughies being Torgersen and Heavens Above. Get them in your exotics.

Our NSW Ratings service give you access to all of Snowy’s assessed prices, speed map comments and recommended bets, as well as a direct line to the man himself during meetings via our live page.