Chris Waller’s defending champion Boban has drawn the inside alley for Saturday’s Epsom Handicap 2014 where the galloper will carry the 58kg top weight.
Waller has four runners lining-up in the 15-horse field for the $500,000 Group 1 The Star Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick this weekend, the quartet coming up with mixed luck in this morning’s draw.
Twelve months ago Bernardini gelding Boban carried 53kg from barrier 10 (of 16) to victory in the Epsom before becoming a triple Group 1 winner with subsequent victories in that year’s Emirates Stakes and the Chipping Norton in Sydney during the autumn.
His assignment is much tougher this year however as he goes up to 58kg in the Epsom Handicap weights, Boban after his first win since the Chipping Norton over the Warwick Farm mile in early March.
While on paper barrier one looks good, for Boban it’s not a great starting position as he’s likely to be taken back and could struggle to get a clear run with his off-the-pace and wayward style working against him.
If he does overcome the weight and the draw then he’ll join a select list of back-to-back Epsom Handicap winners including Desert War (2004-05), Super Impose (1990-91), Toi Port (1963-64), Chatham (1932-33) and Melodrama (1906-07).
Boban sits at a quote of around $6 in an open Epsom Handicap betting market post-barrier draw.
Race favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au is then another one of Waller’s hopes in Royal Descent, the Redoute’s Choice mare to be ridden by Hugh Bowman from barrier 11.
She carries 55.5kg, equal with last year’s third placegetter Toydini.
Royal Descent hasn’t won a race since the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) in the mud at the Randwick track back in April last year as a three-year-old but has been in top form this preparation.
She comes off three top two runs, the latest of which was behind Sacred Falls, Waller’s dual Doncaster Mile winner backing up in Saturday week’s Caulfield Stakes, in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
Also coming off a top three run in the George Main Stakes, which has produced four of the past 10 Epsom Handicap winners, is then the Team Hawkes-trained Laser Hawk.
He’s drawn one outside of Royal Descent for Saturday in barrier 12 with Corey Brown to ride and caught the eye last time out on September 20 when third in the George Main beaten under two lengths.
Pride meanwhile lost his drawcard Epsom hope Rock Sturdy to injury on Wednesday morning, last Saturday’s Shannon Stakes winner suffering suspensory ligament damage that could end his career on the track.
Along with Boban (Glyn Schofield) and Royal Descent, Waller also saddles up another single figure fancy in He’s Your Man and roughie shot Lucky Chappy.
French import He’s Your Man jumps from barrier 10 on Saturday and gets in with just 52.5kg.
That’s a massive weight relieve for the son of Cape Cross who has won two of his past three runs including the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on September 13.
Also boosting He’s Your Man’s chances on Saturday is the booking of Hong Kong-based star hoop Joao Moreira.
Fourth in the Kingston Town, Lucky Chappy meanwhile jumps from gate four on the 52kg minimum for hoop Jeff Lloyd.
The aforementioned Toydini meanwhile is also at single figures in Epsom Handicap betting after a nice barrier eight draw with James McDonald to ride, the five-year-old out to improve on an eighth in the George Main with blinkers added to his gear this weekend.
Barrier eight is one the two most successful Epsom Handicap barriers in recent years producing four winners, as has gate seven, in the past 31 years.
Barrier seven meanwhile belongs to $101 roughie of the race Jetset Lad from the Queensland stables of Brian Smith.
Also representing Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes this year in the race is Fastnet Rock gelding Ninth Legion just outside the top fancies in betting after coming up with barrier nine who ran third to Rock Sturdy in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill last weekend.
Other notable Epsom Handicap hopes this year include Star Rolling who firmed in the markets after a nice barrier two draw for the 53kg light weight and last start Group 3 Cameron Handicap winner at Newcastle Hooked out wide in barrier 14.
See below for the full Epsom Handicap 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
Our No. 1 recommended bookie Ladbrokes.com.au is set to open their updated markets shortly so make sure you’ve got an account open and ready to go!
2014 Epsom Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 7 (4:00pm) – 04/10/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x54170x455||BOBAN||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||1||58kg||114|
|2||5x4525x222||ROYAL DESCENT||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||11||55.5kg||113|
|3||6x85506x38||TOYDINI||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||8||55.5kg||109|
|4||13x820x883||LASER HAWK||Joseph Pride||Corey Brown||12||53.5kg||107|
|5||5x5239x168||STAR ROLLING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Ms Linda Meech||2||53kg||104|
|6||x2340x3131||HE’S YOUR MAN (FR)||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||10||52.5kg||103|
|7||14x0x2x505||HONORIUS||David Payne||Ms Winona Costin (a)||6||52.5kg||102|
|8||585534×471||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Sam Clipperton||14||52kg||100|
|9||01x385x733||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Chris Munce||9||52kg||100|
|10||75x0x0x644||LUCKY CHAPPY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jeff Lloyd||4||52kg||96|
|11||x004441140||JETSET LAD (NZ)||Brian Smith||Anthony Allen||7||52kg||94|
|12||3947223×02||LIBERTY’S CHOICE||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||5||52kg||90|
|13||1231626×94||PHEIDON||Gai Waterhouse||Thomas Huet||3||52kg||86|
|14||1146276×61||WOODBINE||Gai Waterhouse||Christian Reith||13||52kg||86|
|15||21144×527||SPY DECODER (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Jay Ford||15||52kg||73|