Stephen Farley’s unswerving sprinter-miler Sincero is being tipped as the horse to beat in the 2011 Epsom Handicap at Randwick this Saturday, the dual Group 1 winner having dominated futures betting on the feature since markets opened at the start of the month.
Umatilla gelding Sincero will jump the punters’ favourite in the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) on Saturday as they seek their 12th career victory from 16 starts, their fourth straight success and their third elite level win.
Winner of the Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane during the winter, Sincero is undefeated as a four-year-old having resumed with a gritty first-up victory over Secret Admirer in the Group 3 Tramway Handicap (1400m) before his last-start win in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on September 17.
Their imposing form and consistency has seen Sincero firm into the $3.60 Luxbet Epsom Handicap betting favourite, a price that will further shorten with the release of the final field on Wednesday.
There are still officially 121 horses entered for the Epsom Handicap 2011.
That will be cut to a final field limited to 20 starters plus four emergencies at acceptance stage tomorrow.
Sincero is No. 1 on the 2011 Epsom Handicap ballot and is one of three horses exempt from elimination.
The other ballot exempt Epsom Handicap hopefuls are Patrick and Wayne Webster’s last-start Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap winner Thankgodyou’rehere ($11 Luxbet), the Peter Snowden-trained Lonhro mare Raspberries ($26 Luxbet) and Gai Waterhouse’s upset Group 2 Shannon Stakes conqueror at Rosehill last Saturday King Lionheart ($16 Luxbet).
On Saturday Sincero has been allocated 56.5kg, but as the 58kg topweight of the entries Heart Of Dreams has subsequently been ruled out of the race, Epsom Handicap weights will be raised giving the favourite 57kg.
“Looking at it he is handicapped right up to his best and I suppose he has probably earned it,” Farley said of Sincero’s Epsom Handicap weight.
“I’m not complaining by any means.”
This is still a very manageable weight for Sincero who carried 58.5kg to victory in the George Main Stakes last start, but Farley has said the horse’s incredible ability will likely see the Epsom be their swansong handicap run.
“The Epsom will probably be the last time we see him in a handicap race, especially if he wins,” Farley said.
“I would say his future after Saturday will be as a weight-for-age horse. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s a nice problem to have.”
Sincero’s spring grand final is the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), Farley planning a weight-for-age only campaign leading up to the Moonee Valley showdown on October 22 after Saturday’s race.
“He is a horse who is now more suited to weight-for-age,” Farley said, naming the $400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 8 as the next-up run for Sincero after the Espom.
Cox Plate 2011 odds at Luxbet currently have Sincero at a quote of $12.
He trails gun Kiwi galloper Jimmy Choux ($7), Caulfield Guineas favourite Helmet ($8), the Mark Kavanagh-trained Whobegotyou ($8) and Rekindled Interest ($10).
Second favourite in the pre-field Epsom Handicap odds at Luxbet is last year’s third placegetter Secret Admirer at a quote of $6.
Grahame Begg’s Dubawi mare Secret Admirer returns to Randwick this weekend seeking successive Epsom Handicap Day victories after her win in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at the meeting last year.
She comes off a last-start fourth when beaten four and a half lengths by King Lionheart in the Shannon Stakes, Secret Admirer failing to make up ground after missing the start.
There were early concerns following her disappointing Shannon Stakes performance that Secret Admirer may have suffered an injury, but she has since been cleared by veterinarians and Begg is confident she will bounce back on Saturday.
There are two other horses currently at single-figure prices to upset Sincero in the Epsom Handicap results with Greg Eurell’s gallant four-year-old mare Pinker Pinker ($8) and the Peter Moody-trained Kiwi import King’s Rose ($9) who is undefeated this preparation with wins in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley last-start on September 10.
In other Epsom Handicap news Rick Hore-Lacy’s Show A Heart four-year-old Toorak Toff was handed a 2kg weight penalty for their win in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
They now sit on 55.5kg, which will be raised again at acceptance stage tomorrow.
Below is the full pre-post Epsom Handicap 2011 odds courtesy of our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet.
To lock in any of the Epsom hopefuls at these prices punters have to hurry with prices set to firm.