The Epsom Handicap meeting will be held at Royal Randwick this Saturday. The course proper was rated a Good 4 on Thursday and with fine weather in Sydney over the next couple of days, Randwick will be racing on a Good track on raceday.
The Kris Lees-trained Sense Of Occasion is the class horse in the Hill Stakes and he does have an advantage at the WFA condition (Sydney Race 4, 1800m). The 7YO did a terrific job last preparation finishing 3rd in both the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap & Queen Elizabeth Stakes before taking out the Doomben Cup. Sense Of Occasion finished 8th behind the mighty Winx when 1st up in the Chelmsford Stakes. Stepping up to 1800m 2nd up looks ideal. Lees has kept the gelding’s fitness up to the mark by sending him over a 1000m trial 10 days ago. From barrier 4, Corey Brown will settle mid-field on the fence and Sense Of Occasion will be hard to hold out.
Godolphin-owned Alizee was triumphant in the Tea Rose Stakes last start and she can continue her winning way in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (Sydney Race 5, 1600m). The Sepoy filly had shown a lot of promise last preparation but she has finally come of age this campaign winning 1st up over 1100m, followed by two admirable performances before taking out the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes last start. Stepping up to the mile will suit Alizee even better. Glyn Schofield will settle the filly somewhere mid-field and Alizee will finish the race off strongly.
After giving Winx a real test in the George Main Stakes a fortnight ago, Happy Clapper is primed to peak in the Epsom Handicap (Sydney Race 7, 1600m). The Pat Webster-trained gelding has shown in the past his liking for the Randwick Mile, which is evident in his 2nd in the Doncaster Handicap in the Autumn and his overall record of one win and three 2nds from five attempts over the Epsom Handicap course and distance. Happy Clapper has come back in good order this campaign with a 1st up victory in the Tramway Handicap before his 2nd to Winx in the George Main. Drawn beautifully in gate 4, Blake Shinn will settle just behind the pace on the fence and receive a lovely run in transit. Happy Clapper is the horse they all have to beat.
By Owens Wong, Editor