Three Group 1 races headline the major Sydney Spring Carnival card at Royal Randwick on Saturday, including the $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m).
All nine races on Epsom Handicap Day have drawn strong fields and we have analysed every runner in each, in order to help you find a winner.
The Epsom Handicap Day action is set to get underway with the running of the Listed Breeders’ Plate (1000m) for two-year-old fillies at 12:20pm, while the Group 1 racing begins with the Flight Stakes (1600m) at 2:40pm.
Race 1 (12:20pm) Listed Breeders’ Plate (1000m)
Thirteen unraced juveniles will step out in Saturday’s Listed Breeders’ Stakes and this is the first opportunity that we are afforded to see some of the 2018 Autumn Carnival’s black type prospects step out. Peter & Paul Snowden will saddle three horses in the race; Bondi (barrier 3), Invincible Lad (barrier 13) and Sokudo (barrier 6). All three colts are well bred an in a race like this, barriers could mean the difference in a good and bad debut. Godolphin will also launch a two-pronged attack in the race after James Cummings confirmed both Hiemal (barrier 1) and Osorno (barrier 8) in the Breeders’ Plate field.
Tip: No. 3 Hiemal – Each Way ($4.50/$2.50)
Race 2 (12:55pm) Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m)
A capacity field of sixteen fillies and one emergency has been confirmed for the Gimcrack Stakes. This is exactly the same scenario as the Breeders’ Plate and not one horse has yet to contest a race competitively, meaning trials, breeding and draws are all vital. Gai Waterhous & Adrian Bott will saddle two nice fillies in Bold Arial (barrier 4) and Setsuna (barrier 9). The former, by I Am Invincible is bred to relish short races and is drawn ideally with in-form hoop Adam Hyeronimus in the saddle, while the latter finished third behind fellow Gimcrack Stakes acceptors Cortesta (barrier 14) and Now Or Never (barrier 3) in a recent Warwick Farm barrier trial.
Tip: No. 2 Bold Arial – Each Way ($10/$3.60)
Race 3 (1:30pm) Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m)
Twelve three-year-olds will step out in the Dulcify Quality; frequently used as a stepping stone towards the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in a fortnight. Tangled (barrier 8) failed to fire at his first start, but is a Group 2 winner and up to the class of this race. Hugh Bowman will take the ride and the horse should find a good position off the early pace from his barrier. Sambro (barrier 6) has steadily built to the task and is ready to peak third-up in this race, while Langley (barrier 11) is weighted well, carries winning form into the race and will be partnered by in-form hoop Brenton Avdulla, but has been charged with overcoming an awkward draw. All Too Huiying (barrier 12) is yet to break his maiden status and will need plenty of luck from the outside barrier, while Ataraxia (barrier 2) failed to fire last time out, but is drawn to get far more favours in this race.
Tip: No. 1 Tangled – Each Way ($11/$3.40)
Race 4 (2:05pm) Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m)
Ten horses have been confirmed in the Hill Stakes field and it is an open race from a betting perspective. Sense Of Occasion (barrier 4) could only managed eighth in his first-up run, but he is a Group 1 winner at the distance of the Hill Stakes and is drawn ideally. Mackintosh (barrier 7) has the notable advantage of Joao Moreira in the saddle and is primed for a big run, when Maurus (barrier 10) also generally gets better with racing and will relish 2000m. Godolphin stable mates Havana Cooler (barrier 1) and Spectroscope are two of the class horses of this field and they should also both taken plenty of improvement into this race. Embley (barrier 3) has also been confirmed in the Epsom Handicap field, but is a live each-way chance in this race should trainer Bjorn Baker choose this as the appropriate target.
Tip: No. 6 Spectroscope – Each Way ($7.50/$2.40)
Race 5 (2:40pm) Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m)
The first Group 1 race of the day will take place when eleven three-year-old fillies step out for the Flight Stakes. Champagne Cuddles (barrier 11) has had a busy racing preparation, but has also finished second in each of the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) through recent weeks and is arguably the filly to beat in the Flight Stakes. Alizee (barrier 10) carries winning form into the race following a dominant performance in the Tea Rose Stakes and should find a good position behind the speed from a wide draw. Queensland raider Cellargirl (barrier 4) has found terrific form this time and debuted in Sydney for a smart third in the Tea Rose Stakes. She could receive the run of the race from her draw and looks well suited to a mile.
Tip: No. 4 Cellargirl – Each Way ($6/$2.10)
Race 6 (3:20pm) Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m)
Some of the country’s best sprinters have been confirmed in the Premiere Stakes field and there is a case to be made for close to every runner. Chautauqua ran on well from the tail of the field to finish seventh in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) first-up and will only improve into this race, particularly with a step up in distance. Clearly Innocent (barrier 5) is seeking a berth in The Everest and would probably need to win this race to justify a spot, while Takedown (barrier 6) and Fell Swoop (barrier 10) should both take natural improvement into this race. Ball Of Muscle (barrier 8) will need to fly the gates if he is to take up the running from his slightly outside draw, while English (barrier 9) is a live chance of winning the race also.
Tip: No. 4 Fell Swoop – Each Way ($12/$3.40)
Race 7 (4:00pm) Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m)
Thirteen horses remain in contention for the Epsom Handicap and almost every runner is a winning chance. Happy Clapper (barrier 4) has returned to racing in typically strong form this time and has perhaps never been faced with a better opportunity to post a maiden Group 1 win. The Teofilo gelding resumed for a smart win in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), before running second behind Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) a fortnight ago. Foxplay (barrier 14) went within a whisker of breaking Winx’s winning streak in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) first-up and finished third in the George Main Stakes last time out. Tom Melbourne (barrier 13) has finished a close second in each of his three starts this time and should relish the conditions of this race, while Comin’ Through (barrier 12) and Egg Tart (barrier 1) are both winning chances.
Tip: No. 9 Tom Melbourne – Each Way ($9/$2.70)
Race 8 (4:45pm) Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m)
Twelve stayers will contest The Metropolitan, including Libran (barrier 3). The Lawman gelding resumed for sixth in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m), before returning to winning form in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) a fortnight ago. Big Duke (barrier 6) is yet to show his best this time, but finds ideal racing conditions for the first time in The Metropolitan and is potentially over the odds at his current quote. Kiwi raider Chocante (barrier 1) will also improve at a mile and a half and will have plenty of early options from the rails draw, while Antonio Giuseppe (barrier 4) is ready to peak and is drawn ideally, and Who Shot Thebarman (barrier 2) always performs well in races like this and has the notable advantage of Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Tip: No. 2 Who Shot Thebarman – Each Way ($12/$3.70)
Race 9 (5:25pm) Snitzel Sprint (1200m)
Thirteen sprinters remain in contention for the final race on Epsom Handicap Day following the early scratching of leading contender Pumpkin Pie. Tango Rain (barrier 3) has returned to racing in typically slick form this time and should prove extremely difficult to beat in this race, while Supreme Effort (barrier 6) has not been far away in two starts and should be rock-hard fit for this race. Echo Effect (barrier 8) and I Thought So (barrier 4) are both drawn well and have the class to win, while the resuming Grunderzeit (barrier 5) and Spright (barrier 1) are also both live chances.
Tip: No. 4 Tango Rain ($4.20)