The increase in prize money by 50% by the Australian Turf Club for the 2015 Epsom Handicap this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival has already lured its first big name hopeful in the Chris Waller-trained Kermadec.
The ATC announced a $2 million prize boost across the Carnival this week including upping the total stakes for the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), run at Royal Randwick on October 3, from $500,000 to $1 million.
The injection is already working to bring in the big names with Waller naming the Epsom as a likely target for his Doncaster Mile winning colt Kermadec who will stay on in Sydney longer now before heading south for the majors in Melbourne.
“We can’t be seen to be second tier to Melbourne in the spring,” Waller told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“A million dollar Epsom is going to keep your horses here and I might think about running Kermadec in an Epsom now.
“I wouldn’t think twice about running Kermadec in the Epsom for $400,000 or $500,000, but if it’s a million dollars it’s going to get some serious thought. Sydney deserves to see those types of horses here two or three times – not just once in the spring.
“Automatically you’re going to get five or six serious horses in the race that Sydney doesn’t get a chance to see. They’re all going to have a lead-up run and you might have 10 horses you wouldn’t normally see in Sydney up here.”
A rising four-year-old, the son of Teofilo hasn’t raced since taking his prize money earned out to $2.2 million with a smart one and three quarter length victory in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick in early April during The Championships.
That was the up-and-comer’s third win at start number eight and secured his position as a galloper to watch heading into the Spring majors after he also ran third to Japan’s Real Impact, subsequent Doncaster runner-up, in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) the run before in March.
Waller is confident the Epsom Handicap is an ideal new season target now for Kermadec, the master trainer having saddled up a total of 16 starters in the classic over the years for two wins, two seconds and a third.
He has trained the past two consecutive Epsom Handicap winners in Boban (2013) and He’s Your Man (2014), Kermadec looking his best early chance of making it a hat-trick in 2015.
A likely lead-up into the race for Kermadec would be in in the $175,000 Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 26.
After the Epsom, plans are for Kermadec to head towards the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 24, a race Waller is yet to win.
Futures Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Hong Kong’s Able Friend and the Godolphin-raced Contributer at $9 each while Kermadec is also in the top part of the markets at $13 ahead of the nominations in early August.
To get behind Kermadec throughout his next preparation at the guaranteed best prices make sure you’ve got an account open online through Ladbrokes.com.au who will match your first deposit dollar for dollar up to $500 with use of the code BETBONUS this season!