2020 Epsom Handicap Race Details

Race 7 at Randwick on Saturday 3 October 2020.

The Epsom Handicap is a 1600 metre handicap race run by the run by the Australian Jockey Club at Randwick. It is held  in late September or early October during the Spring Racing Carnival and is one of the best mile events in Australia.

You can read more about the race history, lead-up races and past winners on the Epsom Handicap page.

Epsom Handicap 2020 Preview

Track: Good   Weather: Fine

There were twenty-one acceptances for the $1,000,000 Epsom Handicap and with the early scratching of Kolding and Just Thinkin’ there are currently 19 runners. Even with a scratching Chris Waller still has seven runners while Team Hawkes have three. They have come to this race from a variety of different races, with four runners having their last start in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap over 1400m on 19 September, three in the Group 1 George Main Stakes over 1600m on 19 September, two in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap over 1500m on 18 September, three in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes over 1500m on 26 September, three in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes over 1600m on 5 September, two in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes over 1300m on 12 September, one in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes over 1400m on 5 September and one in the Listed Wyong Cup over 2100m on 4 September.

The betting is very open and the early favourite is six-year-old  Star of the Seas who has drawn the inside barrier and has been 2nd in the Group 1 Winx Stakes and 2nd in the George Main Stakes this campaign, and finished 3rd in this race last year. Second favourite is four-year-old mare Probabeel who resumed for 2nd in the G3 Show County Quality before winning the Bill Ritchie Handicap last start. Third favourite is Rock who won the Cameron Handicap at Newcastle by 3.68 lengths last start.

Funstar ran 6th in the Show County Quality then a close 2nd in the Theo Marks, and has drawn very wide.  Imaging was 3rd in the George Main and has drawn the outside barrier in this capacity field. Wild Planet won the Theo Marks nicely but has never won beyond 1400m. Mister Sea Wolf was a good winner in the Chelmsford and drops 3kg under the handicap conditions. Colette won four in a row last preparation culminating in an Australian Oaks win but isn’t going as well this preparation, while Vanna Girl has been going very well in Queensland but will find this much harder. All other runners are currently 20 to 1 or longer.

2020 Epsom Handicap Runner by Runner

1. Kolding  – SCRATCHED

2. Mister Sea Wolf

This nine-year-old gelding trained by Chris Waller is the oldest runner in the race this year. He was a good winner in the Chelmsford at the same track and distance last start and drops 3kg under the handicap conditions. One of the chances.

3. Star of the Seas

Last year this Ocean Park gelding from the Waller stable ran 3rd in this race behind Kolding. In April he was 2nd in the Doncaster (the other great Randwick mile) behind Nettoyer. He has drawn the inside barrier and has finished 2nd in the Group 1 Winx Stakes and 2nd in the George Main Stakes this campaign. He is my top pick and I expect to see fighting out the finish.

4. Imaging

He has been thereabouts in all three runs this campaign with 3rd in the Group 2 Missile Stakes, 4th in the Winx Stakes and 3rd in the George Main Stakes. He has drawn the outside barrier in this massive field which will make things tough.

5. Nettoyer

She is the oldest mare in the race and won the G1 Doncaster Mile in the autumn giving her a 4th win at this track and distance combination. She has had one run this campaign for 5.1 lengths 12th in the Chelmsford but is capable of improving significantly. She drops 3kg from that run.

6. Brandenburg

He resumed for 10thin the Winx Stakes then improved for 3rd in the Bill Ritchie Handicap. He finished 3rd in the Doncaster during the Championships and is not without a chance third-up from barrier 3.

7. Yulong Prince

He hit the line strongly when resuming for a close second in the Chelmsford carrying 59kg under the WFA conditions. He has had a trial to keep him fit and with barrier 2 and only 54kg to carry has to be rated a rough chance.

8. The Candy Man

This lovely grey gelding has won 11 of his 24 starts. He resumed for an Eagle Farm win over 1400m then was 4th in the G3 Cameron Handicap. He’s one of my favourite horses but I don’t think he’s up to Group 1 level but still hope he goes well.

9. Wild Planet

He won the Theo Marks nicely second-up but has never won beyond 1400m. I’m not expecting that to change here.

10. Niccanova

He went well in Brisbane during the winter, including 3rd in the G1 Stradbroke Handicap and worked home solidly in the Shannon last start. This looks a lot harder.

11. Probabeel

This four-year-old mare has a solid record of seven wins and six second-places from 17 starts and goes well at Randwick. She had the day’s best sectionals when she won the Bill Ritchie last start and drops from 57kg to 52.5kg. I think she is the best of the six mares in the race and expect to see her in the finish.

12. Funstar

This mare has 5 wins and 4 places from her 11 starts, and it is interesting that she has drawn the barrier next to Probabeel as there has been a lot of rivalry between them in the past when the pair have quinellaed the Tea Rose Stakes, Flight Stakes, Surround Stakes and Phar Lap Stakes. She was 2nd in the Theo Marks Stakes last start and is not without a hope.

13. Rock

He won the Cameron Handicap at Newcastle by 3.68 lengths last start which was the second year he has won that race. That was a big win and he drops 3kg from that run and has a chance to place here.

14. Colette

She won four in a row last preparation culminating in an Australian Oaks win but needs to make a big improvement on her last start 3.7 lengths 5th in the George Main.

15. Reloaded

His only win in 10 starts was in a Randwick maiden at his first start, but he has placed in two Group 1 races. Not here.

16. Looks Like Elvis

He has a great strike rate of 8 wins and 15 places from 39 starts, but has little experience at Group level. He did finish 3rd in the G2 Shannon Stakes last outing but he will probably find this field too tough.

17. Riodini

This four-year-old gelding is the most lightly-raced runner in the field with only 8 starts (for 4 wins and 3 places). He only got clear late last start when he finished 2nd in the Shannon Stakes, and is a rough place chance.

18. Savacool

She finished 4th in the Wyong Cup last outing and drops back in distance. This looks too hard.

19. Glenall

He has four wins which have all been over 1100m. Looking elsewhere.

20. Vanna Girl

This Queensland mare has an impressive strike rate of 7 wins and 2 places from her 11 starts. I feel she is another runner who will find the rise in class too much.

21. Just Thinkin’  – SCRATCHED

Epsom Handicap 2020 Tips

The following are the top 4 selections for this years race.

Jo’s Tips
3 Star of the Seas
11 Probabeel
13 Rock
2 Mister Sea Wolf

Previews for other races this week

Group 1 The Metropolitan 2020 (Randwick 2400m)

Group 1 Flight Stakes 2020 (Randwick 1600m)

Group 1 Turnbull Stakes 2020 (Flemington 2000m)

Group 2 Gilgai Stakes 2020 (Flemington 1200m)

Listed Poseidon Stakes 2020 (Flemington 1100m)

2020 Epsom Handicap Results

Result Horse Margin
1st 11. Probabeel
2nd 12. Funstar 1 length
3rd 17. Riodini 1.2 lengths
4th 7. Yulong Prince 1.3 lengths

The track was rated as Good 4

Scratchings; 1. Kolding (NZL), 15. Reloaded, 18. Savacool (NZL), 21e. Just Thinkin’.