Much loved Queensland trainer Desleigh Forster...
The bookies are having a hard time splitting the top three in 2021 Epsom Handicap betting with a trio of runners dominating markets following the official field and barrier draw release for Saturday’s mile feature.
Royal Randwick hosts a triple shot of elite level racing this weekend headlined by the Group 1 $1.5 million Epsom Handicap (1600m), the time-honoured classic attracting a bumper 17-starter field.
All-in favourites Mo’unga and Riodini both suffered wide barriers drawing gates 13 and 15 respectively, opening things up.
Following the Epsom Handicap barrier draw, they were joined at the top of the markets by the Chris Waller-trained Hungry Heart (barrier 10) with the trio all currently at an equal $6 to win through Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Annabel Neasham-trained Mo’unga chases his third Group 1 win and will carry the 57kg top weight on Saturday with Tommy Berry jumping back aboard the Savabeel four-year-old.
Berry, winning hoop in the 2012 Epsom aboard Fat Al, rode Mo’unga to victory two back fresh when the autumn’s Rosehill Guineas winner returned to salute in the Group 1 Winx Stakes defeating Verry Elleegant.
He then travelled to Melbourne and was far from disgraced when a quarter-length second to Spring Cups’ favourite Incentivise in Flemington’s Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Mo’unga returns home to Sydney third-up for the Epsom where, despite the big weight, he presents as a genuine winning hope running over the 1600m again.
Kiwi expat Riodini is looking to break a lengthy winning drought in the Epsom Handicap 2021, the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Proisir five-year-old not having won since a Group 3 in New Zealand back in December of 2019.
He has been competitive in plenty since including running third to Probabeel in last year’s Epsom Handicap results.
His two latest runs have also produced eye-catching placings at Randwick when finishing a nostril-flare second to Think It Over in the Gorup 2 Chelmsford Stakes at 40/1 and then second under a length off Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
Riodini carted 59kg in the George Main Stakes and will be flying from out wide this weekend dropping right back to just 51.5kg in the Epsom Handicap weights.
Waller’s nicely-bred Frankel mare Hungry Heart is also well-weighted with 52kg third up, Kerrin McEvoy continuing associations on the autumn’s Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes – ATC Oaks double winner.
The now four-year-old was last seen running fourth in the George Main Stakes and looks an improver here despite potentially needing further to perform at her best.
Waller is after his fifth Epsom Handicap victory following his previous success with: Boban (2013), He’s Your Man (2014), Winx (2015) and Kolding (2019).
Hungry Heart is one of final acceptors for the Waller stable in this year’s Epsom Handicap field along with Reloaded ($41), the rails-drawn Star Of The Seas ($26), Tramway runner-up to Zaaki first-up Aramayo ($12) and Atishu ($15).
Ultra-consistent Savabeel mare Atishu jumps from barrier 11 with Kathy O’Hara aboard on just 50.5kg, the in-form four-year-old chasing her seventh win from his past eight starts.
Two-from three at the Randwick track, the bonny brown rose in grade last start defeating Looks Like Elvis (2nd) and her stablemate Aramayo (3rd) in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) and gets her chance again here in tougher grade.
Other standouts in this year’s Epsom including Icebath on the quick back-up off her narrow fourth to Vangelic in the Group 2 Golden Pendant last weekend, the Joe Pride-trained Private Eye and Godolphin’s Doncaster Mile winner at the track/distance from April Cascadian.
2021 Epsom Handicap Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||7x32107x12||MO’UNGA (NZ)||Annabel Neasham||Tommy Berry||13||57kg||112|
|2||5x3413x545||CASCADIAN (GB)||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||12||56.5kg||111|
|3||07x0733x08||DALASAN||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||James McDonald||8||55kg||108|
|4||x41690x036||STAR OF THE SEAS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Sam Clipperton||1||54kg||106|
|5||2x51434x98||LION’S ROAR (NZ)||John O’Shea||Jean Van Overmeire||3||52.5kg||103|
|6||7x78111x84||HUNGRY HEART||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||10||52kg||106|
|7||x33542x354||ICEBATH (NZ)||Brad Widdup||Robbie Dolan||14||52kg||106|
|8||30x348x849||ROCK||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Brock Ryan (a)||9||52kg||102|
|9||9230×87522||RIODINI (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Rachel King||15||51.5kg||101|
|10||148x479x23||ARAMAYO||Chris Waller||Ms Alysha Collett||5||51.5kg||101|
|11||942119×543||RELOADED||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||6||51kg||52.5kg||100|
|12||11x821x174||PRIVATE EYE||Joseph Pride||Regan Bayliss||7||51kg||52.5kg||100|
|13||x31111x141||ATISHU (NZ)||Chris Waller||Ms Kathy O’Hara||11||50.5kg||89|
|14||113x236x62||DISCHARGED||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||James Innes Jnr||2||50.5kg||92|
|15||4757×51471||ASHMAN||Kim Waugh||Jeff Penza||17||50.5kg||52kg||79|
|16||112x1327x6||HARMONY ROSE||Mark Newnham||Andrew Adkins||16||50.5kg||95|
|17||1x11420x92||SKY LAB||Paul Perry||Tim Clark||4||50.5kg||52.5kg||94|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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