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Epsom Handicap

One of the highlights of the Sydney Spring Carnival is the Epsom Handicap which in 2016 is being run on Saturday October 1st. The race has been run every year since 1863, except in 2007, when it was cancelled owing to the outbreak of equine flu.

The race is named after Epsom Racecourse in Surrey, England, which is the course on which the world famous Derby is held. The Handicap is a Group 1 race over 1,600 metres held at the Royal Randwick Racecourse and is followed by the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. Prize money for the Handicap is a total of $1,000,000, together with the trophies. The race is ranked only second to the autumn race at the same course, the Doncaster Handicap – also named after an English racecourse – which is run in April.

Since 1983, the Epsom Handicap has only been won five times by favourites, and they have only been placed seven times. Accordingly, this is probably not a good race to bet on the favourite. Perhaps a better guide is the George Main Stakes which is held two weeks previously at Rosehill. In the last ten years, four Handicap winners have won having earlier run in the George Main Stakes, although it should be noted that only Racing To Win in 2006 achieved the double. Also worth taking note is that the George Main Stakes is a weight for age race, while the Epsom Handicap is – a handicap.

Lead up races

Other good lead up races for the Epsom Handicap are the Shannon Stakes, which is a Group 2 race over 1,500 metres at Rosehill in September, and the Bill Ritchie Handicap which is Group 3, run over 1,400 metres a week before the Epsom. Boban, who won the race last year, did so after winning the Bill Ritchie Handicap.

As regards the barriers, statistics since 1983 show that the better barriers with 3, 4, 4, and 3 wins respectively, are no’s 6, 7, 8, and 18. However, many of the other barriers have produced a couple of winners each.

The gun trainer since 1983, with no less than 7 wins from 45 starts, is Ms. G. Waterhouse, while the gun jockeys are G. Boss with 12 starts and D. Beadman with 18 starts, both of whom have three winners.

There are three Group 1 races at the Epsom Handicap meeting, the other two being the Flight Stakes, also over 1,600 metres, and The Metropolitan which is run over 2,400 metres.

Recent Winners

The Epsom Handicap always attracts a field which includes many of the country’ best milers and in recent years these have included Super Impose, who won the back to back 1991 and 1992 events, Filante (1996), Dodge (1998), Shogun Lodge (2000), Racing To Win (2006), and Theseo (2008).

The Epsom Handicap is one of the most bet upon races of the Sydney Spring Carnival at Randwick, and there are going to be plenty of opportunities for good deals with the online bookies. As always, with events like this, it pays to shop around and see which of them is offering the best deal for you.