This Saturday in Sydney the state’s top trainer Chris Waller will shoot for his third Epsom Handicap win when saddling-up clear favourite in betting for the 2015 edition of the mile classic Winx.
Last start the talented Street Cry mare made her four-year-old debut in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on September 12 winning her first-up run and her maiden start since taking out the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) in Brisbane during the winter.
Now Winx leads the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to become a dual Group 1 winner in Saturday’s $1 million The Star 150th Epsom (1600m) where she steps up to a mile for the first time since taking out the Sunshine Coast Guineas on way to her Oaks success.
Hugh Bowman replaces James McDonald in the saddle and despite a wide barrier 13 draw, which hasn’t produced an Epsom Handicap winner in over 30 years, Winx is the $2.90 favourite in betting with the last favourite to salute for the punters being Fat Al (2012).
There are three other single figure hopes in the 15-starter Epsom Handicap field and markets including Winx’s in-form stablemate Sadler’s Lake ($8).
Drawn nicely in barrier three with Jim Cassidy booked for the ride, Waller’s High Chaparral four-year-old Sadler’s Lake comes off back-to-back wins at the Randwick track he returns to this weekend.
His latest victory was on September 19 when beating home Rudy by a half-length in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m), which last produced an Epsom Handicap winner in 2013 with the Waller-trained Boban.
Waller also returned in 2014 to win again with He’s Your Man and his other hope of making it a consecutive hat-trick is the market mover Silverball ($11 into $9.50).
Originally opening at double figures for the win, the money has come for Waller’s veteran seven-year-old import who is yet to race at Randwick but who won the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in fine style last time out.
Last year’s champ for Waller He’s Your Man, like Silverball, was a French import that completed the Bill Ritchie – Epsom Handicap double.
The other single figure hope sandwiched in the markets between Sadler’s Lake and Silverball is Lucia Valentina ($8.50) for Kris Lees.
The multiple Group 1 winning daughter of Savabeel, Lucia Valentina hasn’t won a race since taking out the Turnbull Stakes in Melbourne in October last spring.
Third in last year’s Caulfield Cup next start over the mile and a half, her latest run was a solid fourth to Kermadec in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) over the same track and distance she returns to this weekend looking to break her year-long winning drought.
Outside of the hopes under $10 for the win the next best fancied to become this year’s Epsom Handicap winner include the in-form Entirely Platinum ($11) and Rudy ($11).
Entirely Platinum represents Team Hawkes, along with Messene ($26), and comes off two good Group 1 places in Melbourne when runner-up to Boban in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and third to Fawkner over the mile at Flemington in the Makybe Diva Stakes on September 12.
Rudy also comes off a string of top three runs this prep, Helen Page’s Gold Coast-trained Red Dazzler gelding’s most recent run being the Bill Ritchie second to fellow Epsom fancy Sadler’s Lake.
Check out the latest Epsom Handicap 2015 odds below then head to Ladbrokes.com.au to enjoy Best Tote or SP + 20% on the Group 1s in Sydney and Melbourne this weekend!