Hauraki has been crowned the 2016 Epsom Handicap winner after producing a huge late turn of foot to beat Dibayani and Mackintosh on the line.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey James McDonald elected to settle Hauraki off the pace of early race leader Fabrizio; who strolled clear of the gates and ensured plenty of tempo would be injected into the Epsom Handicap from the outset.
A chase group including the likes of Le Romain, Dibyani and Happy Clapper hunted down Fabrizio with 300m to run, but they too were only spectators to the brilliance of Hauraki’s late sprinting; charging home down the outside of the field to post his maiden win at the highest level.
Trainer John O’Shea conceded that he was unsure what would happen when Fabrizio took a big lead and Hauraki settled off pace, but was thrilled the horse was able to produce magic and win the Epsom Handicap.
“I was watching Palentino and he didn’t look to be travel too good, and we were hoping he was going to bring us up the rise,” O’Shea said.
“But Mac, as he always does, got the right option. We knew we had the horse right and gee, he came quick today.
“It’s just been a great team effort getting him prepared and then you come here today and you get one of those James McDonald specials. It’s a very special day for the team.
“We didn’t even get to cheer because he came that quickly. It’s just fantastic.”
McDonald’s perfectly-timed ride was arguably the difference in Hauraki being crowned the 2016 Epsom Handicap winner but the hoop was quick to lay the praise of the quality of the horse, and Godolphin’s preparation.
“Nothing went right early, but we’ve got the best staff at home and what they do with these horses, I just sit on them, point them in the right direction and they just fire,” McDonald said.
“Obviously he’s been a bridesmaid so many times. He went up to the Brisbane Carnival and ran second.
“To come away with an Epsom win, John’s timed his preparation to perfection so between him and the team, all of the credit goes to him.”
In taking out the 2016 Epsom Handicap, Hauraki has now posted a commendable five wins and nine minors through only twenty career starts.
2016 Epsom Handicap Results
|1||2||HAURAKI||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||10||56kg||$6.50|
|2||6||DIBAYANI (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||0.1L||11||54kg||$26|
|3||8||MACKINTOSH (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||0.3L||2||52kg||$9.50|
|4||4||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Brenton Avdulla||0.6L||1||55kg||$9|
|5||3||LE ROMAIN||Kris Lees||Hugh Bowman||1.2L||3||55.5kg||$10|
|6||9||MCCREERY (GB)||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||1.6L||4||51.5kg||$6.50|
|7||10||HEAVENS ABOVE||Tim Martin||Corey Brown||1.7L||8||51kg||$17|
|8||12||TORGERSEN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Ms Kathy O’Hara||2.4L||5||50kg||$31|
|9||11||VANBRUGH||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||2.7L||7||51kg||$19|
|10||13||FABRIZIO||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Johan Victoire||3.5L||6||50kg||$6EF|
|11||5||MIGHTY LUCKY||Fred Cowell||Chris O’Brien||6.6L||12||54.5kg||$51|
|12||7||SONS OF JOHN||Jason Attard||Glen Boss||6.8L||13||53kg||$17|
|13||1||PALENTINO||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||7.7L||9||57kg||$6EF|