The time-honoured Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) is set to be decided this Saturday at Randwick, with a stellar 20-horse field vying for the chance to secure a place in racing history.
The $1.5 million prize packet has brought together of plethora of chances, with many different form-lines set to converge in one of Australia’s great 1600m contests.
The three traditional lead-up races seem the most likely way to predict the winner, with Golden Mile, Rediener and Democracy Manifest boasting last-start victories in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m), Group 3 Bill Ritchie handicap (1400m) and Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) respectively.
EPSOM HANDICAP 2023 ODDS
Hope In Your Heart opened as favourite with online bookmakers after a terrific return in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on September 2, but there has been a big shift in the market since then. The Inevitable now holds the call at +550 after opening at +1000, while Hope In Your Heart has eased out to +750. Kovalica at +800 is the only other runner in single digits at the time of writing, with Nugget and Rediener not far away at +1100 apiece.
EPSOM HANDICAP 2023 SPEED MAP
With a lack of notable leaders engaged, don’t expect them to go overly quick in the 2023 Epsom Handicap. Out of gate 12, Going Global looks the likely leader after showing early toe in the 7 Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, while some of the lower-weighted horses may choose to lamplight. Rediener will be positive from barrier two with 50kg on his back and could land in front if Kathy O’Hara elects to do so. This could leave the likes of Williamsburg (3), Barbie’s Fox (4), Communist (6) and Diamil (5) all chancing their hand to find a one-back position early. Expect The Inevitable (10), Hope In Your Heart (8) and Kovalica (7) to gain lovely stalking positions, while My Oberon (18), Golden Mile (21) and Madame Pommery (16) have it against them from the awkward draws.
EPSOM HANDICAP 2023 BETTING PREVIEW
Hope In Your Heart comes through the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), where Pericles pinched a very soft lead and left the chasers very little chance from back in the field. But this daughter of Dundeel didn’t shirk the task, knuckling down despite being crowded for room at a crucial stage to finish third 1.6 lengths away. She deserves to add a Group 1 victory to the resume, and this looks like the perfect opportunity to do exactly that.
The Inevitable was sensational in the Theo Marks Stakes behind Golden Mile and can easily turn the tables on Saturday. He steamed through the over the unsuitable 1300m journey, and getting to the 1600m second-up looks to be a recipe for success. His record reads impressively; he has three wins and two minor placings form six starts at the trip, along with four wins and a placing from seven second-up runs. David Pires makes the trip from Tasmania, and with seven rides aboard The Inevitable for six wins, it’s easy to see why he got the appointment.
Duke De Sessa can outrun his price with online betting sites after a middling effort at Caulfield in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on September 2. He’s the only horse in the race that brings Mr Brightside form this campaign, and although he may want further than the mile second-up, we can’t let him go around without something on this lightly raced four-year-old.
You can make a case for many of these, including the likes of Rediener and Democracy Manifest; however, we aren’t convinced they bring the best form-lines into the Epsom Handicap.