What you need to know about the Epsom Handicap 2015

EPSOM HANDICAP

$1 million, Group One, Handicap, 1600m

HISTORY

Named after racecourse in south of England where Epsom Derby has been run since 1780.

Run over famous Randwick “mile” since 1865 when won by Dundee.

Notable winners include Amounis (1926, 1928), Chatham (1932-33), Shannon (1945), Sky High (1961), Cabochon (1967), Gunsynd (1971), Triton (1972), Super Impose (1990-91) and Desert War (2004-05).

TJ Smith and daughter Gai Waterhouse most successful trainers with seven Epsom wins apiece.

In 2011, Secret Admirer became first mare to win since La Neige in 1976.

Eight horses have won Epsom-Doncaster double in same racing season: Dundee (1865-66), Marvel (1891-92), Chatham (1933-34), Blue Legend (1946-47), Broker’s Tip (1969-70), Gunsynd (1971-72), Authentic Heir (1975-76). Super Impose won both races 1990 and again in 1991.

THIS YEAR’S FIELD

The defection of the higher-weighted runners has led to handicaps being raised four kilograms with just two kilograms separating topweight Hooked (58kg) and the lowest-weighted runners. Chris Waller will saddle up three horses including favourite Winx while Hawkes Racing (Entirely Platinum and Messene) and Godolphin (Sweynesse and Malice) also have multiple entries.

THE SPEED

Ecuador, Hooked and Entirely Platinum are all on-pace runners and that trio should provide the speed. Winx is a backmarker and will stick to that pattern from a wide draw. Lucia Valentina also races back in the field but could settle a touch closer with blinkers on for the first time.

KEY COMMENTS

“He’s run out of his skin first-up when he was probably a run short and it has taken a bit more out of him than what he was letting on and he has raced a bit flat.” Trainer John Thomspon expects Hooked to improve from his disappointing last-start run in the George Main Stakes.

“The only time she’s raced in Randwick miles was twice in the George Main where she hasn’t been able to get a suitable tempo in smaller fields.” Trainer Kris Lees is hoping the big Epsom field generates a strong pace for backmarker Lucia Valentina.

“I’m very surprised about the price actually. He’s third pick and he’s got a great record at the mile, he’ll be on-pace and he’ll be very hard to hold out.” Jockey Tommy Berry is keen on the chances of Entirely Platinum.

RECENT WINNERS

He’s Your Man (2014) won it fifth-up off a winter campaign with a lead-up victory in the Kingston Town Stakes.

Boban (2013) tackled the race third-up after claiming Bill Ritchie Handicap on the way through.

Fat Al (2012) won race third-up following minor placings in the Theo Marks and Shannon Stakes.

Secret Admirer (2011) went to the race at fourth run after two black-type placings and a fourth in the Shannon.

Captain Sonador (2010) won it third-up after resuming with a Brisbane victory and placing in the Bill Ritchie.

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