All-in betting for the Epsom Handicap 2016 this Saturday in Sydney is currently led by the John O’Shea-trained Hauraki coming off a second to Winx in the George Main Stakes.
The five-year-old son of Reset is one of 37 nominations for this year’s $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), one of three Group 1 races on the Royal Randwick card on the weekend.
Heading the pre-field Epsom Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at a current quote of $5 to hand O’Shea with his second win in the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival feature after his success with Racing To Win (2016), Hauraki is yet to win in Group 1 company.
The consistent gelding has had eight Group 1 runs to date and has run second four times and third once.
His latest elite level placing was the second-up second behind superstar mare Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last start on September 17.
Hauraki also ran third to Chris Waller’s Cox Plate winner in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) over the Randwick mile in late February during the autumn.
Without Winx in the mix this weekend, O’Shea and Godolphin are hoping Hauraki can finally breakthrough in top class and post his second win from three runs this campaign after the first-up Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) success in early September.
Palentino ($5.50) for Darren Weir is the next best in the early Epsom Handicap betting markets, the four-year-old Teofilo stallion chasing his third Group 1 win.
He took out the Australian Guineas as a three-year-old in the autumn and the Makybe Diva Stakes last start on September 10 both over the Flemington mile.
A winner of four of his 10 career starts, Palentino is undefeated over the Epsom Handicap distance but is yet to race in Sydney.
In the Makbye Diva Stakes he defeated stablemate Black Heart Bart by a length, the runner-up franking the form with a big Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) win at Caulfield last Saturday.
There are currently two other single-figure Epsom hopes with Happy Clapper ($8) and McCreery ($8) co-third favourites.
Prepared by Patrick Webster, Teofilo six-year-old Happy Clapper hasn’t won since December last year taking out the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
He enjoyed a big autumn however headlined by his second to Winx in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and third behind Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
His last run was a sixth to Sons Of John in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) from September 17 carrying 59kg and drops to 55kg in the Epsom Handicap.
McCreery meanwhile is a genuine light weight getting in on just 51.5kg in the Epsom Handicap 2016.
The five-year-old son of Big Bad Bob has won his past two races on the trot, most recently saluting in the Group 3 Kingston Town Classic (2000m).
Third placegetter in that race won at Rosehill last Saturday in the Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m).
McCreery is prepared by Sydney’s best Chris Waller who has prepared the past three consecutive Epsom Handicap winners: Boban (2013) who came off a Bill Ritchie win; He’s Your Man (2014) who won the Kingston Town Stakes in the lead-up; and Winx (2015) who came off a Theo Marks Stakes victory.
Waller’s other best hope of securing four straight Epsom Handicap wins is Mackintosh ($10) on just 52kg, the Pins four-year-old chasing the Theo Marks – Epsom double achieved by Winx last season.
The 2016 Epsom Handicap final field of acceptances is due for release on Tuesday morning.
Before then take advantage of the juicy all-in betting on the race below, Epsom Handicap odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au.