Hauraki has retained top spot in Epsom Handicap 2016 betting after the release of the final field and barrier draw for the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival classic this week.
Due to jump as Randwick Race 7 at 4:00pm (AEST) as the marquee race in Sydney on Saturday, this season’s $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) features a final field of 13 runners.
In the updated Epsom Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, five of the milers are under double figures for the win including the John O’Shea-trained top fancy Hauraki ($5.50) out in barrier 10.
Four of the past five Epsom Handicap winners jumped from double-digits, including two of the past three from gate 10 – Boban (2013) and He’s Your Man (2014).
It is the ideal draw for Godolphin’s Reset five-year-old Hauraki this year then, top Sydney hoop James McDonald continuing his association and chasing his first Epsom Handicap victory.
McDonald has been aboard Hauraki for his six latest starts including the last start second to superstar mare Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) on September 17.
He has strong form at the Randwick track (10-2-3-2), and from three runs over the mile the 2015 ATC Derby runner-up has two placings.
O’Shea won the Epsom Handicap with Racing To Win (2006) and Hauraki, dropping from 59kg last start to 56kg on the weekend, looks a livewire chance to hand him a second a decade later.
Following closely and occupying the second line of Epsom betting at an equal $6 are the Darren Weir-trained top weight Palentino (57kg) and lightweight McCreery ($51.5kg) for Chris Waller.
Mark Zahra sticks aboard Teofilo stallion Palentino for the sixth time in seven starts, the dual Group 1 winning four-year-old looking for back-to-back elite levels.
He took out the Makybe Diva Stakes over the Flemington mile on September 10, but is as yet untested in Sydney.
If successful on the weekend he will be the second Epsom Handicap winner in as many years to carry 57kg to victory after the win by Winx (2015) last Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
Winx was Waller’s third consecutive Epsom Handicap winner and his best hope of making it four on the trot this Saturday is big Bad Bob five-year-old McCreery.
The lightly-raced import has won five of his 11 starts to date and has an outstanding record over 1600m of three wins and two seconds from five runs so far.
He has won back-to-back races in Sydney first in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) and then the Group 3 Kingston Town Classic (2000m) three weeks ago at Randwick.
McCreery drops back to his pet distance this weekend and also comes back from 54kg to 51.5kg in the Epsom.
The other hopes under double figures for the win are the rails drawn Happy Clapper ($8) and Fabrizo ($8).
Jockey Brenton Avdulla wasn’t thrilled with drawing barrier one in the Epsom Handicap with Happy Clapper, but will endeavour to get the Patrick Webster-trained Doncaster Mile runner-up a clear run from the inside.
Fabrizo meanwhile is drawn in gate six with John Victoire in the saddle of the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained High Chaparral gelding.
He comes aboard in place of Tim Clark who rode the up-and-comer to a four length win at the track / distance on September 17, and Fabrizo drops from 57.5kg that day to Saturday’s 50kg minimum.
At more generous odds but still with genuine claims at the Epsom title in 2016 include the likes of Waller’s last start Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes winner over 1300m Mackintosh ($11) and the Kris Lees-trained perennial runner-up this time in Le Romain ($13) who won the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) here as a three-year-old in March.
See below for the full Epsom Handicap 2016 betting markets, fixed win pricing open at Ladbrokes.com.au who have the weekend’s best odds and offers on all the Sydney races.