The Epsom Handicap at Randwick Racecourse is one of the highlights of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival with the Group 1 race being one of the biggest betting heats of the early parts of the season.
A premier handicap staged over 1600m, the race carries prize money totalling $500,000 and is one of the biggest staged at Randwick each year. 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 race and the competitiveness of a high-class field makes it 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 more than 100 horses nominated for the race, finding a bookmaker with non-runner no bet offers is often worthwhile with some leading fancies not guaranteed a run.
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 Mile,
the feature of the Sydney Autumn Carnival
The long history of the Epsom Handicap dates back to 1863 when Dundee etched his name into fame as the first-ever winner of the now famous open handicap.
Some champion milers have won the race during its illustrious history including the great dual winner Chatham and Super Impose, who also won the Doncaster Handicap twice during the Autumn Carnival, as well as Nightmarch (1929), De La Salle (1948), Noholme (1959) Sky High (1961), Gunsynd (1971), Imposing (1979), Filante (1996), Dodge (1998), Shogun Lodge (2000), Racing To Win (2006), Theseo (2008), Secret Admirer (2011).
Only six horses have achieved back-to-back wins in the Epsom Handicap - the sextet being Masquerade (1882 and 1883), Melodrama (1907 and 1908), Chatham in (1932 and 1933), Toi Port (1963 and 1964), Super Impose (1990 and 1991) and Desert War (2004 and 2005).
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 Metropolitan Handicap
(2400m) and Group 1 Flight Stakes
, a 1600m contest for three-year-old fillies. The Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes
(2000m) for three-year-olds was previously held on the same day but from 2013 headlines its own day a week later.