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Sydney’s Chris Waller will saddle-up five runners in the Epsom Handicap 2017 field at Royal Randwick on Saturday as he shoots for his fourth win in five years in the mile classic.
The Group 1 $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m) is one of three elite level Sydney Spring Racing Carnival features at the meeting and has drawn a final field of 14 hopefuls.
Among the list of official Epsom Handicap horses are five for Waller who has won the race previously with Boban (2013), He’s Your Man (2014) and champion mare Winx (2015).
This year his best chance of adding to the impressive tally according to the Epsom Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au is four-year-old Sebring mare Egg Tart who drew the inside barrier.
As a filly she completed the Schweppes Oaks – Queensland Oaks double and was last seen running a first-up second in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m).
Egg Tart will come back from 55kg that run to just 51kg in the Epsom Handicap weights and if successful with be the third mare since 2011 to beat home the boys in the feature.
Kerrin McEvoy is aboard the rails-drawn Egg Tart on Saturday, the mare out to be the first Epsom Handicap winner from barrier one since Excellerator (2002).
The other four-year-old mare in the mix for Waller is the in-form Foxplay who had opposite luck in the Epsom Handicap barrier draw coming up with the outside alley (14 of 14).
Five of the past six Epsom Handicap winners jumped from a double-digit draw however so all is not over for Foxplay and jockey Hugh Bowman just yet.
Winner of the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) as a three-year-old back in April, the grey daughter of Foxwedge has had two runs this time in and should be nearing peak fitness third-up.
She resumed on August 19 running second after only being run down late by Winx in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) before her third to the Hall of Famer in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) a fortnight ago.
The George Main Stakes produced last year’s Epsom Handicap winner with the Godolphin-raced Hauraki improving on his lead-up second to Winx in 2016.
Waller also has livewire chances in Comin’ Through and Tom Melbourne who both look very well-weighted and drew alongside each other in barriers 12 and 13 respectively.
Four-year-old Fastnet Rock entire Comin’ Through chases his third Randwick won on the trot, the Randwick Guineas third placegetter last seen winning the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) with 53kg on September 16.
He has the ‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira aboard, the Brazilian hoop having saluted for the stable on He’s Your Man (2014).
Glen Boss’s mount Tom Melbourne was runner-up in that same key Epsom Handicap lead-up race, the seven-year-old beaten a neck in his third second place finish on the trot this campaign.
The Waller-trained contingent is rounded out by six-year-old McCreery coming off a George Main Stakes fourth as a $101 roughie.
The top weight on Saturday and other best fancied runner in Epsom Handicap betting is last year’s fourth placegetter Happy Clapper.
Seven-year-old Happy Clapper gives the weight away and is out to go one better than his George Main Stakes second two weeks ago.
Prior to that he defeated Tom Melbourne in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) and his trainer Patrick Webster is confident his veteran can return to winning form with experience on his side this weekend.
Happy Clapper drew barrier four and jockey Blake Shinn said the gate was “as good as it could be”.
See below for the official Epsom Handicap 2017 field, barriers and jockeys with updated Group 1 racing odds to be released shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Epsom Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 7 (4:00pm) – 30/09/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||69x2125x12||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Blake Shinn||4||57kg||113|
|2||4x24141x23||FOXPLAY||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||14||54.5kg||112|
|3||480×350112||SOUND PROPOSITION (NZ)||Kris Lees||Corey Brown||10||54kg||107|
|4||10x8747x46||HE’S OUR ROKKII (NZ)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||5||53.5kg||106|
|5||311255×427||RED EXCITEMENT||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||3||53.5kg||106|
|6||x156495x84||MCCREERY (GB)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||7||53kg||105|
|7||271183×477||I AM A STAR (NZ)||Shane Nichols||Dean Yendall||2||52.5kg||108|
|8||0x2612x701||ZANBAGH||John P Thompson||Damian Lane||9||52.5kg||108|
|9||3x6905x222||TOM MELBOURNE (IRE)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||13||52kg||103|
|10||31x11111x2||EGG TART||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||1||51kg||105|
|11||21x5338x11||COMIN’ THROUGH||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||12||51kg||101|
|12||x6321220x0||SAVILE ROW (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Jay Ford||8||51kg||101|
|13||114173×546||SNITZSON||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Cory Parish||6||50.5kg||94|
|14||2210×67911||EMBLEY||Bjorn Baker||Andrew Adkins (a)||11||50.5kg||91|
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