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Image: Steve Hart
Last years Epsom Handicap winner Hartnell

EPSOM HANDICAP

$1 million 1600m handicap

HISTORY

* First Epsom Handicap event in 1863 won by Dundee

* Named after famous Epsom Downs racecourse in the South of England where Epsom Derby has been run since 1780

* The race has been run at 1600m since 1885 – following a short-lived decision to change to 1800m in 1879

* In 1987 11-year-old jockey Jim McHugh won the event with his second ever race ride

* The Lee Freedman-trained Super Impose won four straight ‘big miles’ in 1990 and 1991, including back-to-back Epsoms

* TJ Smith and daughter Gai Waterhouse are most successful trainers with seven Epsom wins apiece

* Chris Waller has won three of the past six editions with Winx (2015), He’s Your Man (2014), and Boban (2013)

* In 2011, Secret Admirer became first mare to win since La Neige in 1976 and four years later it was Winx

* Most recent winners have been Hartnell (2018), Happy Clapper (2017) and Hauraki (2016)

NOTABLE WINNERS

* Amounis (1926, 1928), Chatham (1932-33), Shannon (1945), Blue Legend (1946), Noholme (1959), Sky High (1961), Cabochon (1967), Gunsynd (1971), Triton (1972), Riverdale (1984), Super Impose (1990-91), Kinjite (1992), Filante (1996), Shogun Lodge (2000), Desert War (2004-05), Racing To Win (2006), Boban (2013), Winx (2015)

TALKING POINTS:

* Premium trainer Chris Waller has had three wins in the past and he’s hoping for another one this year with five runners: Unforgotten, Mantastic, Kolding, Le Juge, Star Of The Seas, and Kaonic

* James McDonald rode Hauraki to victory in 2016 and has a good chance this year on one of the favourites Te Akau Shark

* Early money favours Kolding who has drawn barrier 13, and is ridden by Glen Boss who has won on Captain Sonador (2010), Racing To Win (2006) and Shogun Lodge (2000)

* Godolphin’s head trainer James Cummings won last year with Hartnell and has two runners this year: Best Of Days and Cascadian. Godolphin also won with Hauraki in 2016

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING:

“We have every confidence in Robbie Dolan and we are just hoping for a clear passage” – Godolphin Australia boss Vin Cox on Cascadian

“He is the sort of horse who goes forward and is most consistent. He is going as well as he ever has and the plan has been for him to peak at the third start of his campaign,” Dreamforce’s trainer John Thompson

“He’s always shown he’s got very good ability, we’ve just been poking along from one step to another and all of a sudden you’re winning a Cameron and he’s come in through the back door into the Epsom” – Rock’s co-trainer Michael Hawkes

“I think Gem Song has a great chance. He’s drawn well and has a nice weight. He’ll back up well from Saturday’s race, so he’s right in it” – Gem Song’s trainer Kris Lees

 
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