Leading trainer Gai Waterhouse has revealed that she believes Spurtonic is her best chance in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Waterhouse also has progressive gelding Ecuador ($7), who has been extremely well backed, and the consistent Ashokan ($101) in the field but told Racing Ahead that she is leaning towards Spurtonic ($26) to give her an historic eighth victory in the time-honored race.
“They all have great chances but they are completely different types of horse,” Waterhouse said.
“Spurtonic has ticked every box for me going into this race and out of the three of them I will be slightly leaning towards him.
“I thought that his run at Newcastle was great.
“It was a very wind-bias day and he ran an enormous race.”
The lightly-raced Ecuador has been the best backed runner in Epsom Handicap betting markets despite his shock defeat to Multilateral in the Kari Aboriginal Resources Handicap (1900m) at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday.
Waterhouse decided to enter the four-year-old for the Epsom Handicap rather than the Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) and Waterhouse believes that he can bounce back and run well this weekend.
“Ecuador is the most exciting of the three and has unlimited potential,” Waterhouse said.
“He has the most amazing stride yet he is a narrowish sort of horse.
“It is amazing with the High Chaps they have wonderful ability.”
Ashokan is considered the outsider of Waterhouse’s three Epsom Handicap chances but has performed well this campaign; finishing fourth in both the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) and the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m).
Waterhouse has always had a big opinion of Ashokan, stating earlier in the year that she believed the More Than Ready entire was good enough to win the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), and she is confident that the four-year-old can perform well at big odds in the Epsom Handicap.
“I thought Ashokan ran an excellent race last week and he is going very, very well and is good odds for the punters,” Waterhouse said.
Waterhouse has won five of the last eight editions of the Epsom Handicap; taking out the race with Desert War (2004 and 2005), Theseo (2008), Rock Kingdom (2009) and Fat Al (2012).