The Epsom Handicap (8 furlongs) was run for the first time on Saturday, September 2, 1865, conducted on the Randwick racecourse, day one of the AJC Spring Meeting. The distance was altered to 9 furlongs in 1879, reverting to the “mile” in 1884.
4yo Dundee won the first Epsom, the horse having the notable distinction of securing the first running of the Doncaster Handicap the following autumn. Dundee was prepared by John Chaafe and ridden in the Epsom by George (“Squeaker”) Thompson.
Famous winners of the Epsom include Winx, Tobin Bronze, Shannon, Gunsynd, Sky High, Nightmarch, High Caste, Beauford & Noholme.
Seven horses have won the Epsom twice, the most notable being Super Impose (1990/1991), Amounis (1926/1928), Chatham (1932/1933) & Desert War (2004/2005).
Father T.J. (Tommy) Smith and daughter Gai Waterhouse co-hold the Epsom training record with an amazing 7 wins each. Next are Fred Williams (5), Maurice McCarten (4) and Chris Waller (4).
Donald Nicholson is the leading rider (5 wins), Nicholson scoring in consecutive years – 1880 to 1884. Nicholson tragically lost his life in the infamous 1885 Caulfield Cup fall (17 horses fell on the home turn). On 4 wins apiece are James Barden, Glen Boss, Jim Munro and Neville Sellwood.
|2019||S6-3M||KOLDING||C WALLER||G BOSS||4G||105|
|2018||G3-3M||HARTNELL||J CUMMINGS||H BOWMAN||8G||113|
|2017||G3-TRUE||HAPPY CLAPPER||P WEBSTER||B SHINN||7G||113|
|2016||G3-3M||HAURAKI||J O'SHEA||J MCDONALD||5G||109|
|2015||G3-TRUE||WINX||C WALLER||H BOWMAN||4M||110|
|2014||G3-TRUE||HE'S YOUR MAN||C WALLER||J MOREIRA||6H||103|
|2013||G3-3M||BOBAN||C WALLER||G SCHOFIELD||4G||102|
|2012||G3-4M||FAT AL||G WATERHOUSE||T BERRY||4G||103|
|2011||S5-TRUE||SECRET ADMIRER||G BEGG||B AVDULLA||4M||105|
|2010||G4-3M||CAPTAIN SONADOR||R MILNE||G BOSS||4H||97|
Rail is out 3m; contrary to popular belief, this meeting has produced a Good rated track 8 times over the past decade.
Waterhouse (7), Waller (4) and John Hawkes (1) are past Epsom winners with runners engaged in 2020.
Mares have won 2 of the past 10 but their previous win came in 1976 (La Neige at 100/1). Overall, 17 of the 154 Epsoms have fallen to a mare.
10-year trends show just one winner rated under 102 – 7 of the past 10 winners were weighted on the limit to 1kg above the limit.
|2019||KOLDING||12||19||$5.50EF||KOLDING/TE AKAU SHARK||$5.50EF||1ST/2ND|
|2017||HAPPY CLAPPER||2||10||$2.40F||HAPPY CLAPPER||$2.40F||1ST|
|2014||HE'S YOUR MAN||10||15||$5.50.||TOYDINI||$5F||14TH|
|2012||FAT AL||6||15||$4.60F||FAT AL||$4.60F||1ST|
Not too high or not too low seems the comfort zone over the last 10 years. A capacity field (20) has produced a value winner both times.
Joint or outright favourite has lobbed 4 times in the 10-year sample. Previous 30-years (1980-2009) is very similar with 7 favourites saluting.
Last major blowout was in 2001, Final Fantasy ($51) scoring over 1400m on the Kenso track. La Neige (1976) is the longest priced winner at 100/1. Note: 73 horses have started at $22 or longer for 2 seconds & 2 thirds over the past 10 years.
2006 saw Racing to Win become the shortest-priced winner ($1.70f) when he scored an easy victory. He broke a record that had stood since 1867.
|YEAR||WINNER||A/S||OR||LAST START||L3||NEXT RACE|
|2019||KOLDING||4G||105||1st Ritchie||5-1.||1st Gold Eagle|
|2018||HARTNELL||8G||113||4th Feehan||2-4.||2nd Toorak|
|2017||HAPPY CLAPPER||7G||113||2nd Geo Main||1-2.||2nd Craven|
|2016||HAURAKI||5G||109||2nd Geo Main||1-2.||8th Cox Plate|
|2015||WINX||4M||110||1st Theo Marks||1||1st Cox Plate|
|2014||HE'S YOUR MAN||6H||103||1st King Town||1-3-1.||2nd Mackinnon|
|2013||BOBAN||4G||102||1st Ritchie||1-1.||1st Moonga|
|2012||FAT AL||4G||103||3rd Shannon||2-3.||12th Cantala|
|2011||SECRET ADMIRER||4M||105||4th Shannon||2-2-4.||5th Cox Plate|
|2010||CAPTAIN SONADOR||4H||97||3rd Ritchie||1-3.||8th Cox Plate|
Obvious positive trend here is to perform well (first 4) in a Metro-based Group event in your final lead-in race.
Strong lead-up form apparent in this data-panel. Winx (2015) the first second-up winner since Final Fantasy (2001).
Bit of a mixed bag but Waller has had satisfactory results post-Epsom with Kolding, Winx and Boban.
Relying on historical precedents to suggest Nettoyer has the job ahead – 54 Doncaster winners have tried the same-year Epsom double with just five succeeding (Super Impose accounting for two of those). Chelmsford winner Mister Sea Wolf has a similar obstacle to overcome - only Filante (1996) has completed the Chelmsford-Epsom double
Rock faces a significant challenge as the Cameron winner; 45 Cameron winners have gone to the Epsom, only Excellerator (2002) has done the double. Allez Suez (1999) is the most recent Epsom winner to come directly from the Cameron.
The profiles that Probabeel & Funstar bring to the Epsom strongly suggest that the 2020 Epsom revolves around these two 4yo mares. Importantly, both are G1 winners and they line up more than acceptably to Winx (2015) and Secret Admirer (2011) – the only mares to win the Epsom in the past decade.
Brandenburg & Riodini are attractively handicapped 4yo males on a weight scale that doesn’t appear to favour Star of the Seas (a non-G1 winner with 55.5kg in an Epsom) - 4yo males have won 16 of the past 28 runnings of the Epsom.