The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Master horseman Chris Waller dominates the Epsom Handicap 2020 field at Royal Randwick on Saturday saddling-up eight of the runners including the clear favourite in betting Star Of The Seas.
Set to run as Randwick Race 7 at 4:05pm (AEST), this year’s Group 1 $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m) field features a capacity line-up of 20 starters plus an emergency and nearly half hail from the Waller stable.
Sydney’s 10-time Premiership winning trainer has won four of the past seven editions of the Epsom and is back with a strong contingent looking to add to that success on the weekend.
The consistent son of Ocean Park comes off a frustrating run of minor placings including finishing second in last year’s Doncaster Mile, the Winx Stakes first-up this August and the George Main Stakes last start.
Returning to the same track and distance as the George Main from August 22, Star Of The Seas drops notably in weight from 59kg to 55.5kg on Saturday and is drawn to get the run of the race from barrier one with Nash Rawiller aboard.
Star Of The Seas was beaten home by stablemate Kolding in the George Main Stakes and the duo are set for a rematch in the Epsom.
Kolding won last year’s Epsom Handicap carrying just 50.5kg before taking out the inaugural edition of Rosehill’s $7.5 million The Golden Eagle (1500m).
The now five-year-old gelding, a fellow son of Kiwi sire Ocean Park, was impressive returning to winning form third-up last time out but is at a disadvantage weight-wise in the Epsom.
He is allocated the 56.5kg top weight, has also drawn out wide (20) for jockey dual Epsom Handicap winning hoop Hugh Bowman and pays $11 to go back-to-back in the event for the first time since Desert War (2004-05).
Group 1 winning Adelaide mare Funstar ($12) coming off and Group 2 Theo Marks second, George Main third placegetter Imaging ($13) drawn the far outside alley and veteran nine-year-old Mister Sea Wolf ($16) last seen winning the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes a month ago round out the Waller hopes in the mix.
Along with Star Of The Seas, there are just two other runners at single-figure Epsom Handicap odds with Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Probabeel ($8) drawn out in gate 18 and Rock ($9) for last weekend’s Golden Rose winning stable Hawkes Racing.
Kerrin McEvoy retains the ride on Jamie Richards’ consistent daughter of Savabeel Probabeel in the Epsom, the four-year-old mare coming off and Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) win at the track from September 19.
She drops down from 57kg to just 52.5kg for the Group 1 on Saturday, and should be flying with that weight looking for a second career Group 1 following her Surround Stakes success at the track over Funstar back in February.
Rock also looks very well-weighted with 52.5kg, Tommy Berry to partner the Pierro five-year-old from barrier 13 having ridden him to a nearly four length victory in Newcastle’s Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) last month.
2020 Epsom Handicap Field
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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