For the first time in a number of years a below capacity field for one of the major Sydney Spring Racing Carnival features has been announced with 15 milers to face off in the 2012 Epsom Handicap at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Leading the acceptances for the $500,000 Group 1 The Star Epsom Handicap (1600m) this year is the Chris Waller-trained Shoot Out, the 58kg topweight drawn in barrier 10.
The High Chaparral six-year-old has retained their favouritism in the Epsom Handicap odds at bookmakers around the country after their impressive first-up victory in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at the track two weeks ago.
Shoot Out’s stablemate, George Main Stakes runner-up Rangirangdoo has also been accepted into the Epsom field for Waller the always honest eight-year-old drawn wide in gate 14 with the 57.5kg second topweight.
Only three other Epsom Handicap acceptors are weighted above the 52kg minimum for Saturday’s showdown with Grahame Begg’s reigning Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer (54kg) set to jump from gate nine with James McDonald aboard, the Ron Quinton-trained Monton (53kg) and Stuart Webb’s triple Group 1 winning mare Yosei (52.5kg).
Dubawi five-year-old Secret Admirer won the Epsom fourth-up last spring and again comes into the clash on the back of three runs this time in, Begg confident she will relish the 54kg under handicap conditions having run in weight-for-age company at her last three including her third in the George Main.
Yosei meanwhile will be ridden by Glyn Schofield who has worked hard to get down to the light-weight for this ride with her regular hoop Michelle Payne off with injury.
Along with Shoot Out and Rangirangdoo Waller has also accepted for Said Com in the Epsom this year, the O’Reilly four-year-old coming off a second in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at the track on September 22.
Following Shoot Out in the pre and post Epsom field release betting markets is then progressive Al Maher four-year-old Fat Al who is one of three chances for Gai Waterhouse in the classic on Saturday.
Fat Al has been the beaten favourite in their first two runs this season when second in the Theo Marks Sprint and then third in last Saturday’s Shannon Stakes but still has the support of the bookies to improve stepping up to the mile at Randwick which they won the Carbine Club Stakes over back in April.
Waterhouse’s other runners are then Thorn Park seven-year-old Kontiki Park (barrier two) and Bill Ritchie Handicap third placed Wild And Proud (barrier 15).
Also with multiple Epsom starters for 2012 is John O’Shea who will line up recent Cameron Handicap runner-up Lightinthenite and Gangster’s Choice who makes their black-type debut, the duo dran in barriers one and eight respectively.
Other notable 2012 Epsom Handicap acceptors include the Peter Snowden-trained Thoe Marks Sprint winner Ambidexter (barrier four) and Gwenda Markwell’s in-form five-year-old Rolling Pin (barrier five) out for their third straight win after victories in the Cameron Handicap and Shannon Stakes last month.
See below for the full 2012 The Star Epsom Handicap field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2012 Epsom Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Royal Randwick Race 7 – 4:00pm – 06/10/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||52x32132x1||SHOOT OUT||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||10||58kg||118|
|2||9942604×42||RANGIRANGDOO (NZ)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||14||57.5kg||116|
|3||352383×223||SECRET ADMIRER||Grahame Begg||James McDonald||9||54kg||112|
|4||11x200x689||MONTON||Ron Quinton||Ms Kathy O’Hara||13||53kg||104|
|5||x05483x067||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Glyn Schofield||3||52.5kg||109|
|6||34x84442x1||AMBIDEXTER||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||4||52kg||104|
|7||2750×30911||ROLLING PIN (NZ)||Gwenda Markwell||Christian Reith||5||52kg||104|
|8||121x111x23||FAT AL||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||6||52kg||103|
|9||321176×126||KONTIKI PARK (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Nathan Berry||2||52kg||103|
|10||111x20x348||SOMEPIN ANYPIN (NZ)||Gary Portelli||Jay Ford||11||52kg||102|
|11||3161103×03||WILD AND PROUD||Gai Waterhouse||Peter Robl||15||52kg||101|
|12||5x363x7715||TAGUS||John P Thompson||Brenton Avdulla||7||52kg||101|
|13||21227×1362||SAID COM (NZ)||Chris Waller||Corey Brown||12||52kg||99|
|14||63125x13x2||LIGHTINTHENITE||John O’Shea||Jim Cassidy||1||52kg||94|
|15||11251×1342||GANGSTER’S CHOICE||John O’Shea||Jason Collett||8||52kg||83|