John Thompson’s yet-to-resume Group 1 winner First Seal has opened early favourite in futures Epsom Handicap 2015 betting for the Royal Randwick feature in October.
On Monday Racing NSW took 96 nominations for this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival’s $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), set to run on Saturday October 3 over the AFL – NRL Grand Final long weekend.
Bookmakers around the country are now offering all-in Epsom Handicap markets including Ladbrokes.com.au who have First Seal installed as the $7 top fancy.
Winner of the Group 1 Flight Stakes as a three-year-old last October over the same track and distance as the Epsom, the now four-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock was scratched from a first-up run in last Saturday’s Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) due to a foot abscess.
She is now on track again to resume racing Saturday week, September 5, in the $175,000 Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), which will be her first run since a sixth to Amanpour in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) on April 11.
There is just one other runner currently under double figures in the ante-post Epsom Handicap odds with the Chris Waller-trained Kermadec paying $8.
One of 14 Epsom nominees for Waller, who has won the past two editions of the mile classic with Boban (2013) and He’s Your Man (2014), Teofilo stallion Kermadec made his four-year-old debut first-up last Saturday at the track.
Winner of the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) back in April, he finished two lengths away fifth to stablemate Royal Descent in the Warwick Stakes in a run he is tipped to improve on when back up to his pet distance of 1600m later this prep.
There are then three hopefuls equal on $11 to win the Epsom this spring with Pornichet, Royal Descent and Sweynesse.
Gai Waterhouse’s French import Pornichet won the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane during the winter and was impressive first-up when crossing one and a half lengths away in the Warwick Stakes.
Waller’s Warwick Stakes winner Royal Descent broke a lengthy drought with her victory over the weekend, her first win since taking out the 2013 ATC Oaks as a three-year-old.
Sweynesse meanwhile is yet to run this season, the Lonhro stallion having won four of his 10 starts to date, but none since last September’s Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m).
His autumn was a strong campaign despite no victories being tallied, with his best run being a Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) second to Hallowed Crown before things came undone last time out when 19th of 20 runners in the Doncaster.
There are then a logjam of chances paying between $13 and $17 for the win including Waller’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks winning Street Cry mare Winx ($13), the Waterhouse-trained Dubawi five-year-old Arabian Gold ($15), Godolphin’s last start Ranvet Stakes champ Contributer ($15), Waller’s 2013 Epsom winner Boban ($17) and another John O’Shea-trained Group 1 winner Hartnell ($17) who was last seen running fourth over the two miles in the Sydney Cup.
Check out the top 20 in 2015 Epsom Handicap betting in the table below, prices courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au who are offering up to $500 in bonus bets for new depositing players that use the code SPRINGBONUS this season!