An impressive list of 87 runners have been nominated for an appearance in the featured Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4th, highlighted by several notable performers through 2014 and previous champions at the highest level of Australian racing.
Charging home to win the 2013 edition of the Epsom Handicap, trainer Chris Waller has included Boban in nominations for a title defence this year.
The standout performer of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Boban secured a perfect record of five wins from as many starts; following up his Epsom triumph with success in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) most notably on November 9th.
Adding the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) to his list of achievements through the 2014 Autumn, Waller was pleased with the Bernardini gelding’s performance for fourth in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) first-up on August 9th and is confident of finding peak condition ahead of the October 4th feature.
Nominating a total of 13 of his stables stars for the 2014 Epsom Handicap, Waller is also set to be offered legitimate chance of success via the likes of Foreteller, Hawkspur and Sacred Falls.
Also performing to a high standard through the 2013 Spring Carnival, Foreteller finished a mid-pack in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) first-up before breaking through for a maiden Group 1 victory in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) most notably on September 7th.
Having run on for fourth in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) first-up on August 16th, the Dansili gelding has been confirmed to target top-level weight-for-age races through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but may accept into the Epsom Handicap should his form warrant a berth.
Touted as one to watch through the 2013 spring, Hawkspur won the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) on September 7th, but was unable to reach full potential; fading to finish a disappointing 20th in the Melbourne Cup.
Securing several competitive results through autumn, the Purrealist gelding has steadily warmed to the task over two starts this time, but is yet to be confirmed for a path leading into the Epsom Handicap.
Unlucky to be blocked for a run and eighth in the 2014 edition of the Epsom Handicap, Sacred Falls arguably hit career-best form over the 2014 Autumn Carnival; finishing fourth in each of the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) before charging home to win the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 12th; successfully defending his 2013 title in the same event.
Unlucky not to break through for a maiden Group 1 victory through the autumn and winter of 2014, trainer David Vandyke has nominated talented stayer Arabian Gold for the 2014 Epsom Handicap.
Appearing to be fading in form when eighth in the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) and eleventh in the Group 3 Keith F Nolan Classic (1600m) in March this year, Arabian Gold responded in the best way possible, securing three impressive black type victories back-to-back including the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) before finishing an unlucky second in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) last time out on May 31st.
Trainer Peter Moody is also poised to field more than one runner in the 2014 Epsom Handicap, nominating a total of seven horses, including 2014 Group 1 victors Dissident and Moment Of Change.
Securing a consistent total of three wins and five minor places from just 13 competitive starts so far, Dissident returned to racing in 2014 with a hard-fought run for second in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) before claiming back-to-back victories in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) most notably on March 15th.
Contesting a long and busy preparation over the 2013 spring and 2014 autumn carnivals, Moment Of Change appeared a step off Group 1 success when finishing just off the pace of Buffering in each of his three victories at the highest level of Australian racing through late October and November.
Unlucky to be pipped on the line by Richie’s Vibe in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) on January 24th, the Barely A Moment gelding responded with exceptional Group 1 victories in both the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).