2015 Epsom Handicap Final Field and Barrier Draw

September 29th, 2015

A talented field of fifteen has been confirmed for Saturday’s featured 2015 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick; highlighted by the inclusion of some of the Spring Carnival’s standout milers and several previous winners at the highest level of Australian racing.

Winx leads the 2015 Epsom Handicap final field. Photo: Steve Hart

Winx leads the 2015 Epsom Handicap final field. Photo: Steve Hart

Winx has returned to racing in typically slick form this time but will require some luck in running after drawing the somewhat wide and awkward barrier 13.

Stamping her claims as one to watch through the 2014 edition of the Spring Carnival, Winx won the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) before running second in each of the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Flight Stakes (2000m).

Needing a couple of runs to find condition upon resuming this year, the Street Cry mare returned to the winner’s circle in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m); progressing to fifth in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and second in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), Winx floated north of the border for success in the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) before breaking through for a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m).

Having savaged the line for success in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) first-up on September 12th, Hugh Bowman has been confirmed to retain the ride on Winx in the Epsom Handicap.

Lucia Valentina has contested two luckless runs this time in and is sure to relish the conditions of the 2015 Epsom Handicap, particularly after drawing barrier 4.

A two-time Group 1 winner, Lucia Valentina returned to slick form during the 2014 Spring Carnival; winning the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) and progressing to an impressive win in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) before running on for third in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) most notably.

Zac Purton has picked up the ride on the Savabeel mare for her Epsom Handicap tilt, who ran on for a credible fourth in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) last time.

A number of stable stars for lesser-known trainers have been confirmed in the 2015 Epsom Handicap field, most notably Helen Page’s Gold Coast star Rudy and Jason Attard’s Hawkesbury Cup winner Sons Of John.

Posting seven wins and a further eight minors through 26 career starts so far, Rudy gained ballot-free entry into the Doncaster Mile with success in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) over summer, and did his chances of maiden success at the highest level no harm when returning in autumn for second in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m).

While unable to make anything of an impact in his next two starts, the Red Dazzler gelding charged home to finish fourth in his major target, in what was undoubtedly a career-best performance to date.

Having run third in the Tramway Stakes and second in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Quality (1400m) leading into the Epsom Handicap, Rudy has been confirmed to be partnered by autumn jockey Luke Tarrant this weekend.

Posting six wins and five minors through 16 career starts so far, Sons Of John has returned to racing in exceptional form this year but will need plenty of luck in transit from barrier 15.

Winning a Randwick minor over 1800m before ending his autumn preparation with a career-best victory in the Hawkesbury Cup, Sons Of John charged home to finish second in the Theo Marks Stakes first-up and will be partnered by regular hoop Jeff Penza on Saturday.

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