The 2016 Epsom Handicap nominations have been released and 37 horses are in contention for the Group 1 event that will be held at Royal Randwick on October 1.
Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir has never previously had a horse in the Epsom Handicap, but he has included both Black Heart Bart and Palentino in the nominations for the race.
Australian Guineas winner Palentino produced the best performance of his career to take out the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and he now seems likely to head to Sydney for the Epsom Handicap, while Makybe Diva Stakes runner-up Black Heart Bart could drop back in trip after running in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Winx may be taking a different path during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival, but leading trainer Chris Waller is still likely to have a very strong hand in this year’s race.
Mackintosh won the Group 3 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) first-up and he will go straight into the Epsom Handicap off that victory – just like Winx 12 months ago – while Waller has also included, Cosmic Cube, Counterattack, Lady Le Fay, McCreery, Torgersen and Vanbrugh in the nominations for the Group 1 event.
Arguably the most notable nominations for Waller are that of talented fillies Omei Sword and Foxplay.
Both fillies are expected to contest the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) on the Epsom Handicap Day card, but Waller has kept his options open with the talented three-year-olds.
The George Main Stakes is often a key lead-up race to the Epsom Handicap and Hauraki will go into the Group 1 event following his gallant second behind Winx in the George Main Stakes on Saturday.
Hauraki has been in simply outstanding form during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival and he will start the race as one of the favourites.
John O’Shea has also included Old North in the Epsom Handicap nominations and he would need to improve substantially on his first-up performance in the Theo Marks Stakes.
Other notable horses in the 2016 Epsom Handicap nominations include Doncaster Mile runner-up Happy Clapper, the consistent He Or She, Randwick Guineas winner Le Romain, talented mare Lucia Valentina, imported galloper Singing, Bill Ritchie Handicap winner Sons Of John and Bobbie Lewis Quality runner-up Tivaci.
You can find betting markets for the Epsom Handicap and all the major races during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival with Ladbrokes.com.au!