|What||Epsom Handicap Day 2021|
|Where||Royal Randwick – Alison Rd, Randwick NSW 2031|
|When||Saturday, October 2, 2021|
|First Race||11:50am AEST|
|Feature Race||Group 1 Epsom Handicap (R8)|
HorseBetting’s Sydney racing his top selections for all 10 races at Royal Randwick this Saturday, as well as his best bets and quaddie numbers for the program. The track is rated a Good 4 at the time of writing, but rain is forecast in Sydney for the rest of the week, so we expect to see it downgraded to about a Soft 6. The rail is back into the true position for the entire course, so we should see an even day of racing. The opening race of Epsom Handicap Day is set to jump at 11:50am AEST, while the first of three Group 1 races is due to start at 3:25pm.
Race 1 – Benchmark 78 Midway (1000m)
Alysha Collett can kick off what will hopefully be a successful day for her in the saddle when she partners Capital Reign in the opener. A winner of four from five, the three-year-old gelding comes into this race on the back of three straight victories – all with Collett on board – on the New South Wales country and provincial scene. The son of Capitalist will go forward from barrier eight and look to lead all of the way once again. Delexo looks to be the biggest danger on paper, coming off back-to-back wins at Muswellbrook and Moruya, while Annabel Neasham’s filly Ashema can run a big race second-up.
Race 2 – Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes (1000m)
One of the highlights of the day on Saturday is that we get to have our first look at the new crop of two-year-olds under race conditions. The Gimcrack Stakes is exclusive to fillies, and one that we highlighted in our trail report comes up short here. Trained by Ciaron Maher & Dave Eustace and to be ridden by James McDonald, Coolangatta looked to be a serious racehorse when winning her Randwick trial on September 20 by a comfortable 3.3 lengths. The stable won this race last year with Enthaar, so they would be unlikely to have changed up too much of the preparation this time around. She looks pretty handy this girl. Drisana was the other filly from the same set of trials that we liked the look of, while Wild Botanica trialled in the quickest time of the morning.
Race 3 – Group 3 Breeders’ Plate (1000m)
This time we get to see the two-year-old colts and geldings spin their wheels. While we hoped to see Dirty Merchant line up here, he has been saved for another day. Master Showman is a full brother to multiple Group 1 winner Trapeze Artist and is trained also by Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou, so we daresay that the stable will be following a similar script with this Snitzel colt. To be ridden by Josh Parr from the inside alley, Master Showman won’t have the same issues he had in his trial, where he was trapped wide without cover throughout. Despite that, he still hit the line very well and finished 1.2 lengths off Resonator in third. The 1000m is the query with him, but at $21 he is worth a small each-way bet.
Race 4 – Benchmark 88 (1600m)
A number of these runners come out of a Benchmark 88 at this track and distance a fortnight ago and a 1400m Benchmark 78 on the same day, so the form lines aren’t too difficult to judge. We are siding with those coming out of the 1400m race who now step out to the mile and get a good amount of weight relief from those out of the BM88. Five Kingdom really caught the eye first-up for his new stable, charging home out wide to run third behind High Supremacy and Taksu. The former Lindsay Park gelding will drop 5kg to the 50.5kg under apprentice Brock Ryan, which is a massive advantage, and he should relish the conditions with the featherweight. Barrier two is a slight concern as to where he gets to in the run, but if he finds clear air in the straight, he will take some beating.
Race 5 – Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m)
It is only a Group 2, but thanks to a prizemoney increase, these seven runners will be racing for a share in $1 million. Verry Elleegant was originally set to line up here, but connections have opted to race her in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington in a bid to go back-to-back in the Group 1, so we are left with Think It Over on top at the even-money quote. The son of So You Think was beaten only half a length in the Winx Stakes first-up, before winning the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes and then running a very game third in the George Main Stakes behind Verry Elleegant and Epsom Handicap favourite Riodini. Kerry Parker’s gelding was wide throughout in the George Main, and while we don’t think he would have beaten Verry Elleegant, he probably deserved a fairer crack. We expect him to win, but if either Duais or Keiai Nautique spoil the party, we won’t be surprised.
Race 6 – Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m)
Only a fortnight out from The Everest, we see a few contenders take their place in the final lead-up race in Masked Crusader, Rothfire and Lost And Running. With the track conditions a bit of an unknown at this stage, it is hard to split Masked Crusader and Rothfire, but if it stays better than a Soft 6, we are with the Queenslander. It has been well documented that Rothfire was on the sidelines for 12 months after sustaining an injury in last year’s Golden Rose Stakes, but we don’t think he could have returned any better when fourth in The Shorts behind three of the best wet-trackers in the world. We expect him to improve second-up and out to 1200m, so we will be watching the weather closely. Trainer Rob Heathcote has said if it is too wet, he won’t start him, which would leave Masked Crusader as a clear standout.
Race 7 – Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m)
The first of the Group 1 races sees a field of 16 three-year-old fillies contest the Flight Stakes. We were really taken by Mark Newnham’s Von Trapp in the Tea Rose Stakes, where she closed off exceptionally well in the 1400m race to finish fourth after settling last on the fence. The filly by Frankel is going to eat up a mile, and although barrier 14 presents some issues, she should be able to stay out of trouble under Josh Parr. She has had a perfect preparation so far, going from 1250m to 1300m to 1400m and now out to a mile fourth-up. Queensland filly Startantes is a deserving favourite after a terrific run in the Golden Rose just seven days ago, but we are very happy to be with Von Trapp at the $23.
Race 8 – Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m)
The Epsom Handicap is of Australia’s most prestigious races, and while this year’s field is not as strong as we have seen in previous editions, there still has to be a winner. Aramayo has had a brilliant lead-up to what will be his grand final after running second and third in the Tramway Stakes and Bill Ritchie Handicap respectively. Chris Waller has five runners in the race and has won four of the past eight editions, so we are confident that he will add a fifth Epsom title to his name with the son of Poet’s Voice. Aramayo carried 58kg last time out in the Ritchie and now drops to 51.5kg under Alysha Collett, while the barrier gods have been kind to him by dishing up gate five. His closing splits from his two runs this campaign all point to a positive showing in this third-up.
Race 9 – Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m)
The Metropolitan Handicap is easily the toughest race of the day, but once again, we will be hoping for a bit of an upset with 2019 Victoria Derby winner Warning. While the Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained gelding’s wins have been few and far between, the most recent victory came just three starts ago at Doomben in Group 3 company. His first-up run was very good when 10th at Flemington, reeling off the quickest sectional for the final 200m of the race, which was won by Floating Artist. Out to 2400m will suit, as will the wet track. Joint-favourites Montefilia and Entente both look well placed also.
Race 10 – Benchmark 94 (1200m)
It wouldn’t be a Saturday in Sydney without a positive showing by a Godolphin horse, and this looks to be the race where the blue cap can get a win. Gravina was very good first-up when third to Triple Ace and Blondeau and now gets onto a soft track, which he has won three of his four goes on. The four-year-old loves 1200m and races very well at Randwick, where he is undefeated over 1200m. Drawn well in barrier seven under Rachel King, he should get a sweet run behind what looks to be a brutal tempo.
Randwick quaddie tips for Epsom Handicap Day
|Randwick quadrella selections|
|Investment:||$210 for 100%|