The Epsom Handicap meeting will be held at Royal Randwick this Saturday. The course proper was rated a Soft 5 on Thursday and with fine weather in Sydney leading up to the weekend, Randwick will be racing on a Good track on race day.
After being beaten narrowly by Funstar in the Tea Rose Stakes, kiwi filly Probabeel is ready to go one better in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (Sydney Race 4, 1600m). The Jamie Richards-trained 3YO finished off last start really well coming from second last and she will relish stepping up to the mile. Probabeel is hitting peak fitness being 3rd up on Saturday. Kerrin McEvoy will once again be aboard the filly. From barrier 6, McEvoy will bide his time settling at the back of the field and Probabeel will eat up the long Randwick straight in the run home.
Team Hawkes-trained Rock has won 3 from 3 this preparation and this gelding can continue his winning run in the Epsom Handicap (Sydney Race 7, 1600m). The 4YO is mighty consistent having won 4 times and placed 3 times from 8 career starts with his only failure came on a Heavy 10 track in the Phar Lap Stakes earlier this year. Rock showed a tremendous turn-of-foot in his last start victory in the Newcastle Cameron Handicap (1500m) having come from last of 15 runners to annihilate the field. Stepping up to the mile 4th up looks perfect and the gelding has been allotted the feather weight of only 50.5kg (McEvoy will ride 0.5kg over at 51kg). McEvoy will settle the gelding in the second half of the field and given his great turn-of-foot, Rock will over-power this field in the straight and make it four wins on the trot.
The in-form Mark Newnham stable will be represented by Scarlet Dream in The Metropolitan (Sydney Race 8, 2400m). This ATC Oaks runner-up sprinted well fresh when she resumed in a 1500m race four weeks ago before she failed to accelerate in the Soft 6 condition last start in the Kingston Town Stakes. Back on a Good track on Saturday will suit her much better as will the stepping up in trip. Having drawn nicely in gate 2, Robbie Dolan will settle somewhere mid-field along the fence and put the 4YO to sleep. Together with her light weight (50kg), Scarlet Dream could well be the horse they all have to beat.
By Owens Wong, Editor