Past winners Happy Clapper and Hartnell are among the nominations for the 2019 Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 5.
The Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper took the major prize in 2017 while Hartnell carried the Godolphin royal blue colours to victory in 2018 for trainer James Cummings and both the nine year olds are included in the eighty-three nominations for this year’s famous Randwick Mile Group 1.
Webster said that age was not a problem with Happy Clapper who resumed from a winter break to chased home Samadoubt with a first up second in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 24.
“As a matter a fact I think he is better now than he was as a six-year-old so age is not a thing. It is how well you look after the age and he is very well looked after,” Webster said.
Happy Clapper has been a consistent Group 1 performer since the Autumn of 2016 and has been rewarded with three Group 1 winning trophies.
The 2017 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick was the first of Happy Clapper’s three Group 1 wins and he added to that tally during the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival with two wins at Randwick in the Group 1 $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and in the Group 1 $3m Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Hartnell is one of six James Cummings trained gallopers nominated for the Epsom Handicap and the 2018 winner has had to two runs back from a spell at Caulfield for a third to Mystic Journey in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on August 17 and a fourth to Scales Of Justice two weeks later in the Group 1 $1m New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m).
Australian Oaks winner Verry Elleegant and the promising Kings Will Dream head up trainer Chris Waller’s nineteen Epsom Handicap nominations which also includes Group 1 winners Unforgotten and Youngstar as well as the ever popular Tom Melbourne.
Last Saturday’s Tramway Stakes quinella, the John Thompson trained Dreamforce and the Kiwi star Te Akau Shark, are also among the 2019 Epsom Handicap nominations.
Trainer Bjorn Baker has entered his new found stable star Samadoubt who has put himself into contention for all the major Spring Carnival events with two outstanding all the way wins at Randwick in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) on August 24 and in the Group 2 $250,000 Bob Ingham Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) last Saturday.