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The Epsom Handicap is one of Randwick’s big metric mile races, along with the Doncaster Handicap in the autumn.

When: Saturday October 2

Where: Randwick Racecourse

History: Some of the best milers in Australian history have won this race. Past winners include the likes of Amounis, Nightmarch, Chatham, Shannon, Sky High and Gunsynd. In 1990 and 1991, champion Super Impose made history when he won the Doncaster/Epsom double both years. In the last 15 years, notable winners have included Filante, Shogun Lodge, Clangalang, Desert War, Racing to Win, Theseo and Rock Kingdom.

Cox Plate lead up: In recent times this has been used as a Cox Plate lead up, usually unsuccessfully. The last four winners have used the race as a springboard to the Cox Plate.

Likely contenders: Rothesay, Snapy Halo, Girl Hussler, Brilliant Light, Once Were Wild, Firebolt, Neeson, Captain Sonador, Sacred Choice, Drumbeats, Pureness, Leica Larrikin

The favourite: Current favourite is the Joe Pride-trained Neeson, who was unlucky in the Shannon Stakes won by Firebolt. He looks a promising galloper.

The interesting horse: Once Were Wild is very intriguing. She was a touch disappointing in the Shannon Stakes, but she motored late. She is headed to the Caulfield Cup. The last Caulfield Cup winner to come through the Epsom was Might and Power – he finished 8th in the Epsom before his seven length demolition job in the Caulfield Cup.

Our thoughts: While obviously more will be known once acceptances are taken next Wednesday, it is looking like it will be an okay Epsom. Probably not one of the best of all time, but an alright race. It is hard to go past Rothesay, he will improve out of his second to More Joyous. If he wants to run in the Cox Plate, he needs to win this. Shannon Stakes winner Firebolt and the Caulfield Cup-bound Once Were Wild look the main dangers, along with the favourite Neeson. Leica Larrikin suffered a setback after his last run, but his trainers the Freyers said that he was still on track. Could be a roughie if he lines up.

Written by Andrew Hawkins

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