Sydney’s top trainer Chris Waller is gearing up for a massive weekend of racing including Saturday’s Epsom Handicap 2015 at home where his smart mare Winx leads his contingent in the mile showdown.
One of three elite levels on the Royal Randwick race card on the weekend, this year’s $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) is shaping up as a top clash of some of Waller’s best.
All-in Epsom Handicap betting at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of the final field released on Tuesday is his last start Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) winning Street Cry mare Winx.
Waller has won the past two editions of the Epsom with Boban (2013) and He’s Your Man (2014), four-year-old Winx currently paying $3.60 to make it a hat-trick on the trot for the five-time Sydney’s Premiership winning horseman.
Secret Admirer (2011) was the last Epsom Handicap winning mare while four-year-olds dominate the record books with six saluting in the past 10 years and 14 in the past two decades.
The last to come off a win in the Theo Marks however was back in 2011 when six-year-old Final Fantasy took it out at Randwick’s Kensington track.
Waller’s other confirmed Epsom Handicap runners this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival are Silverball, Sadler’s Lake and Flamingo Star.
An $11 chance in the latest betting, Silverball gets in a kilo under Winx (53kg) allocated just 52kg as the Kahyasi seven-year-old shoots for back-to-back wins after success in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) on September 12 at Rosehill carrying a hefty 58kg to victory.
The next best in the markets at $13 for the win, High Chaparral four-year-old Sadler’s Lake is another 52kg lightweight hope, which is a weight last carried to victory in the Epsom by Fat Al (2012).
He has won his past two on the trot at Randwick giving him a solid three from five record at the track including his September 19 success in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) on a Heavy (8) course.
Waller prepared Boban to complete the Bill Ritchie – Epsom double two years ago, while Captain Sonador (2010) came off a Bill Ritchie third before his win in the Group 1 mile feature five years back.
Flamingo Star ($21) is at longer odds to win Waller a third straight Epsom trophy, the imported Areion stallion out to improve on a fourth to Vashka at Rosehill just last Saturday when beaten under a length in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m).
Waller also has his always-honest $2.6 million earning mare Royal Descent entered for the Epsom, but said the six-year-old daughter of Redoute’s Choice was likely to be saved for a Melbourne run in Sunday’s $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
“We also have Royal Descent in the Epsom but she is more likely to step up to 2000 metres in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on Sunday,” Waller told AAP.
“We are keeping our options open with her after that whether we step her up to 2400 metres again in the Caulfield Cup.”
The $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) takes place on October 17, Waller chasing his maiden win in the mile and a half classic that Royal Descent pays $41 to win.
Stay tuned for the official Epsom field out tomorrow and don’t forget to head over to Ladbrokes.com.au where your first deposit will be matched by the house 100% up to $700 when you use the limited time only code SPRINGBONUS!