Leading Sydney trainers Chris Waller and Gai Waterhouse will do battle in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday; with both trainers having three runners in the final field for the event.
Waterhouse has dominated the Epsom Handicap in recent years, winning the race on seven occasions since 1997, and has an excellent opportunity to win the event in back-to-back years for the third time in her stellar training career; with Ashokan (barrier 15), Ecuador (barrier 13) and Spurtonic (barrier one) all into the final field on the limit weight of 53kg after weights were raised by 1kg.
The Epsom Handicap is one of the few Group 1 races in Sydney in which Waller is yet to taste success but has a number of the leading chances in this year’s race.
Riva De Lago (barrier one) will head into the race on the back of an impressive two and a half lengths win in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m), while Boban (barrier 11) stamped himself as a Group 1 contender with his dominant fourth lengths victory in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap – although no horse has ever completed the Bill Ritchie Handicap/Epsom Handicap double.
Sacred Falls (barrier nine) is the only one of Waller’s three runners that is heading into the race without recording a win at his last start but according to the leading trainer is his best chance in the race due to his past success over the famous Randwick mile in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m).
Waller and Waterhouse are not the only trainers with multiple runners in the Epsom Handicap; with both Kelso Wood and Guy Walter having two chances to record their first win in the time-honored race.
Walter’s charges Streama (barrier 12) and Toydini (barrier 14) have both been well-backed after their last start victories in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1600m) respectively.
Wood will be hoping that Sizzling (barrier three) will receive a bit of luck after he was forced to make up too much ground in the Bill Ritchie Handicap while Belltone (barrier six) ran on well to finish second in the same field.
Rounding out the 2013 Epsom Handicap final field are: Sincero (barrier five), Rekindled Interest (barrier four), Veyron (barrier two), Malavio (barrier 16), Your Honour (barrier eight), Lidari (barrier seven) and Scream Machine (barrier ten).