The 2015 Epsom Handicap field has been released and 15 talented gallopers are set to contest the Group 1 event that will be held at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Chris Waller has won the past two editions of the Epsom Handicap with Boban and He’s Your Man and he has a strong hand in the 2015 edition of the race after included Winx, Silverball and Sadler’s Lake in the acceptances.
Most racing experts believed that Winx would be set for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but Waller elected to target the Epsom Handicap with the talented mare and she stamped herself as a clear favourite with an explosive victory in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12.
Silverball will also take winning form into the Epsom Handicap after he outstayed his rivals to take out the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12.
The Kahyasi gelding was originally set to step-up to 2400 metres for the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick this weekend, but Waller has decided to follow the same path that he took with He’s Your Man.
Sadler’s Lake rounds out the Waller trio in the 2015 Epsom Handicap field and he has recorded two wins from as many race starts this preparation.
The son of High Chaparral returned to racing with a comfortable win at Royal Randwick on September 5 and he stamped himself as a genuine Epsom Handicap contender when he beat Sadler’s Lake in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at the same venue on September 19.
Another stable that will have multiple runners in the Epsom Handicap is Team Hawkes, who have included both Entirely Platinum and Messene in the acceptances that were released this morning.
Entirely Platinum brings a different form line into the Epsom Handicap, but he is arguably racing in career best form after he finished in the placings in both the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29 and the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 12, while Messene returned to a semblance of his best form with a third place finish behind Vashka in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 26.
Godolphin will also have two representatives in the Epsom Handicap field in the form of Sweynesse and Malice, who will be ridden by Joao Moreira.
Sweynesse made a slow start to his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a flat ninth in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 5, but he produced an improved effort in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) on September 19.
The George Main Stakes is always a key lead-up race to the Epsom Handicap and that will be no different in 2015.
Hooked produced one of the worst performances of his career to date when he finished at the tail of the field in the George Main Stakes, but he will have the chance to return to his best form in the Epsom Handicap.
Lucia Valentina found the line strongly in the George Main Stakes and she will be ridden by Zac Purton when she chases a third win at Group 1 level this weekend, while Blake Shinn has jumped on fifth placegetter Kirramosa.
One of the most interesting horses in the 2015 Epsom Handicap field is Helen Page-trained Rudy, who finished a more than credible fourth in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Rudy produced another consistent performance in the Tramway Stakes and he was beaten as a dominant favourite in the Bill Ritchie Handicap, but he looks as though he will relish the step-up in distance to 1600 metres.
The 2015 Epsom Handicap field is rounded out by Ecuador, Sons Of John, Teronado and Pressing.