The big one at Royal Randwick this Saturday on the last major Sydney Spring Racing Carnival meeting is the 2012 Epsom Handicap and for punters seeking the insider word on the horses to back and sack in the classic, look no further.
Set to run as Randwick Race 7 at 4:00pm the $500,000 Group 1 The Star Epsom (1600m) has this year drawn a final field of 15 gallopers, five of which are currently at single-figure odds in the Epsom Handicap betting markets at bookmaker.com.au.
Gai Waterhouse’s progressive Al Maher four-year-old Fat Al ($4.80) is the early favourite as they drop back from 58kg to just 52kg on Saturday.
They are followed by the Chris Waller-trained, multiple Group 1 winning stablemates Shoot Out ($5.50) and Rangirangdoo ($7.50) who ran one-two in the Group 1 George Main Stakes over the track and distance a fortnight ago.
Rounding out the hopefuls under $10 are then the Peter Snowden-trained Ambidexter ($7.50) who defeated Fat Al in the Theo Marks Stakes last time out and defending Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer ($8.50) who is considered by many rival trainers as the one to beat again this year.
But should your money be on the favourites this Epsom Handicap Day? Or is there value backing a double-figure outsider for an upset Epsom Handicap result such as the in-form Rolling Pin ($26) or triple Group 1 winning mare Yosei ($15).
Earlier in the week the expert team of form analysts at Races.com.au published our Epsom Handicap 2012 Form Guide & Betting Preview and based on the facts and stats we revealed then, below are our Epsom Handicap tips.
#2 Rangirangdoo ($7.50
- The veteran in this field but Chris Waller’s eight-year-old never gives up
- Need luck from barrier 14 but if they get a clear run you can’t discount them
- Have the second biggest weight (57.5kg) and give weight to some class types but they drop back from 59kg and 61.5kg second and first up this season
- Nash Rawiller stays on and isn’t fazed about the gate and history says double-digits here aren’t an issue
- Their second in the George Main was brilliant, perhaps even more impressive than their winning stablemate’s run
- Great record at the track (10-4-3-1) and the distance (11-5-3-1) and is also a two time winner and two time runner-up over the track and distance from five attempts
#1 Shoot Out ($5.50)
- Carry the 58kg topweight with Hugh Bowman aboard giving the favourite a massive six kilos but they still come back in weight from the 59kg in the George Main Stakes, their first-up win a brilliant effort
- They are outstanding over the mile at Randwick having also run second to More Joyous here in the Doncaster during the autumn, the George Main their second win from three starts over the track and distance
- Their second-up record is good (5-2-2-0) so a first or second finish is looking very likely
- At Randwick they boast four wins and a second from seven starts, and over the mile they have won three from six running another second and third too
#8 Fat Al ($4.80)
- Is the favourite in these markets for a reason
- Progressive four-year-old we definitely haven’t seen the best of yet
- Beaten in their first two runs this time in but in the autumn were flying winning back-to-back Group 3 races at Randwick over 1600m and 2000m respectively
- Undefeated third-up and undefeated at Randwick (2-2-0-0)
- Getting up to the mile on Saturday will suit (2-1-1-) as will the hugely advantageous drop back from 58kg (when third to Rolling Pin in the Shannon Stakes over 1500m at Rosehill last Saturday) to the 52kg minimum here
- Last year’s Epsom winner Secret Admirer came via a fourth in the Shannon Stakes, so Fat Al’s lead-up form is right
- Prepared by Gai Waterhouse who is out to equal her father’s record of seven Epsom winners this year
- Easily has the best Win Rate of the field with 55.56% and the highest Place Percentage (88.89%)
Roughie We Like
#14 Lightinthenite ($14)
- Gets the inside run from barrier one so if they can stay out of trouble early can feature in the end
- Jim Cassidy, one of only three former Epsom Handicap winning jockeys with a ride on Saturday, jumps on
- Come off an eye-catching first-up second to Rolling Pin in the Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle
- Have a good second-up record (3-1-0-1) including their competitive third to Raspberries in the Listed Scone Cup (1600m) back in May
- Boasts the second best winning strike rate after the favourite with 45.45% and a great place rate of 81.82%
Whether you fancy taking us up on our Epsom Handicap betting selections, or taking us on with your own tips in the big one this weekend, head to bookmaker.com.au to access the best Royal Randwick racing odds.
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