A Group 1 contest run for $1 million, the Epsom Handicap has been won by many of Australia’s best champion thoroughbreds. Past winners include Hartnell, Happy Clapper, Winx and Boban – that's just in the last six years.
Another quality field will line up this year and the Kiwi runners could be at the fore.
2019 Epsom Handicap Best Bet – Te Akau Shark @ 8.00
Te Akau Shark isn’t a name many Australian punters would be familiar with, but they’re about to be.
The slick Kiwi runner is a winner of five of his six starts and his only defeat came in the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas. Take nothing away from the defeat because he won his next three starts in booming fashion.
Stepping up to take on the Aussies isn’t easy, but the New Zealand-trained runners have a great record during the carnival.
He’s trained by Jamie Richards and owned by Te Akau Stud. Both have a tremendous record when travelling horses, much like Gingernuts, and Te Akau Shark is the next horse off the conveyor belt.
8.00 is a great price for this runner and he’s only going to firm as the race approaches.
2019 Epsom Handicap Best Each Way – Verry Elleegant @ 13.00
Verry Elleegant is another Kiwi runner, now trained by Chris Waller, which won the Group 1 Australian Oaks last time out.
That followed a win in the Vinery Stud Stakes, so there’s no denying her quality.
Those wins came over 2000m and 2400m but she won the Phar Lap Stakes over 1500m prior to that, so she can win at the mile distance. That bodes well for this race and we can’t quite believe the odds on offer.
Our only concern is that she will be targeted for the Caulfield Cup, but she tends not to settle well during the run, so our plan would be to go for the Epsom Handicap and remain in Sydney.
If she runs, the 13.00 on offer would look silly.
2019 Epsom Handicap Best Roughie – Kolding @ 13.00
Kolding, another Kiwi-bred runner, looks an ideal Epsom Handicap type for Chris Waller.
The three-year-old gelding is a winner of five from 11 starts and he rattled off four consecutive wins before heading for a spell.
Of those wins included a Group 2 Queensland Guineas victory at Eagle Farm and three wins in Sydney.
He scored wins by 1.5, 3.3 and 1.8 lengths, which showed how much class he has in hand.
He’s an exciting prospect and although the Epsom Handicap is quite some step up in grade, it’s hard not to be impressed with his progression this season.