The 2017 $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m) will be staged at Royal Randwick in October.
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A premier handicap staged over the mile, the Epsom Handicap carries a total of $1 million in prizemoney and is one of the highlights of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
It takes place on a Saturday in early October and forms part of the two-day Australian Turf Club Carnival with Epsom Handicap Day also known as “Super Saturday.”
A maximum field of 20 (plus emergencies) go head-to-head in the race which offers a competitive high-class field that is one of the most difficult betting puzzles to solve. Bookmakers offer some special promotions and offers as well as exceptional value on sign-up bonuses to coincide with the race. With plenty of horses nominated each year, locating early value via all-in markets can be a great and rewarding challenge.
The race gained its name in tribute to Epsom Downs Racecourse in England which stages the English Derby classic every year and has had Group 1 status since 1979. Randwick’s other big Group 1 is also named after a British classic racecourse with the Doncaster Handicap one of the main features of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The winner of the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m), held at Royal Randwick two weeks earlier, is guaranteed a place in the Epsom Handicap field thanks to being exempt from the ballot. The winner of the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) is also assured of one of the 20 places in the line-up.
Notable winners of the Epsom Handicap include Amounis (1926 & 1928), Nightmarch (1929), Chatham (1932-33), Shannon (1945), De La Salle (1948), Noholme (1959), Sky High (1961), Gunsynd (1971), Triton (1972), Imposing (1979), Super Impose (1990-91), Filante (1996), Shogun Lodge (2000), Desert War (2004-05), Captain Sonador (2010), Boban (2013) and Winx (2015).
John O’Shea captured the 2016 edition with five-year-old gelding Hauraki who sprinted from last to first to narrowly defeat Dibayani and Mackintosh.
Gai Waterhouse has enjoyed great success in the Epsom Handicap with seven victories – Iron Horse (1997), Excellerator (2002), Desert War (2004-05), Theseo (2008), Rock Kingdom (2009) and Fat Al (2012).
The Epsom Handicap, which was not staged in 2007 due to an outbreak of Equine Influenza, is joined on the Super Saturday billing by the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) and Group 1 Flight Stakes, a 1600m contest for three-year-old fillies.
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