The Wolf’s runner by runner guide to the Group 1 Epsom Handicap run this Saturday at Randwick.
The race is held over 1600m and it is the third Group 1 of the new racing season in Sydney.
Here are The Wolf’s thoughts on the 2017 Epsom Handicap.
Twice placed in the Group 1 Doncaster, this gelding by Teofilo looks awfully hard to beat in what is the race he has been set for this prep. First up he won the Tramway Stakes over 1400m and he then backed this up with a solid second placing behind the superstar mare; Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes over a mile. This is by far and away the best form reference to be winning here and The Wolf expects him to earn a very well deserved Group 1 win here.
Group 1 Queen Of The Turf winner who almost stole victory from Winx first up. Last start she finished a well beaten third in the Group 1 George Main Stakes behind Winx and Happy Clapper. She finished off well that day and The Wolf expects her to be cherry ripe this, however it’s hard to see how she is expected to make up the three length margin on Happy Clapper and win.
Group 3 Cameron placegetter who appears to be massively outclassed here. He’s raced well this prep but this appears to be a bridge too far.
Group 1 Toorak Handicap winner who looked pretty poor last start in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes finishing sixth when beaten by almost eight lengths. If there’s rain he’ll come into it, but The Wolf highly doubts he’ll threaten any of the others here.
Flying leader who gave Winx an almighty scare in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes. He backed this up with a very poor seventh placing in the George Main Stakes last start. There’s a lot of speed predicted in this race and The Wolf expects he won’t be getting a soft time of it out in front.
Waller trained galloper who on his day can put in a big performance. His last two starts he’s run well, but finished well down the track and if he wants to be winning here he’ll need to have improved sharply.
Myer Classic winner who has had three runs back this prep for no placings. She’ll be peaking here over the mile and with a 6.5kg weight drop, she won’t know herself. Dean Yendall hops aboard here which adds confidence and The Wolf expects she’ll be competitive, but it won’t be enough to win.
Last start Group 3 Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle. Prior to this she finished well down the track in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes when beaten by around seven lengths. On her day she’s a very good mare, but her inconsistency is worth opposing and the fact that Happy Clapper and co finished seven lengths ahead of her in the Tramway doesn’t help her cause.
Punter’s nemesis who has placed second three times in a row since moving stables to Chris Waller. He’s run well at each start but has consistently found one better. He’s been beaten narrowly by Happy Clapper and Comin’ Through, so he will need to have improved if he wants to be turning the tables on these two. Whilst his win record in Australia has been poor as of late, The Wolf is expecting him to run a very big race here and a win would not surprise.
Egg Tart ($6) ** SCRATCHED**
Dual Group 1 winner who returned to racing first up in the Group 2 Theo Marks last start. She ran home well that day behind Deploy, but found herself chasing in vain as he was already home by four lengths. Her performance that day was good enough for a first up run and The Wolf expects she’ll have come on from that performance, but he highly doubts she’ll be wound up enough to be winning here. Happy to wait until she steps out over further.
Undefeated in two runs this prep who gets in with the lightweight 51kg and one of the world’s best riders in Joao Moreira aboard. His last start win in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap was as tough as ever, where he held off a fast finishing Tom Melbourne and Burning Passion. He’s right in this with the lightweight and if Moreira can position him on the speed early from the wide draw, he’ll be going very close.
Well beaten by nearly 10 lengths last start at Flemington. He would need a massive form turn around and The Wolf just can’t see it happening here.
Group 1 placegetter who lines up here with 50.5kg on his back. He’ll appreciate the drop in weight here but this is a massive rise in class from Listed to Group 1 and The Wolf just can’t see it happening. Not here.
Speed runner of the race who has won his last starts in a row by leading from the front. The Wolf expects he’ll do the same again here and whilst these tactics have proven fruitful at his last two starts, he is confident that he won’t be a comfortable lead and he could find himself doing a lot of work to get across from barrier 11.
The Wolf’s Speed Map
Where he predicts the runners will settle after leaving the barriers.
The Wolf’s Top 5
This is as a very competitive Group 1 race with what appears to be a few winning chances. The Wolf is supremely confident in his selections.
1 – Happy Clapper
2 – Tom Melbourne
3 – Comin’ Through
4 – Foxplay
5 – Zanbagh
Bet on the latest Epsom Handicap market here.
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Odds correct as of 4:00pm, Wednesday 26 September.