Summary Of Our Trainers’ Tips For Epsom Handicap Day

From Michael Freedman

Horse: Manaal
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 2, Gimcrack Stakes) She’s got plenty of upside, she seems to have improved nicely out of her trial and she has a nice soft draw. No doubt there will be plenty of speed on so she will be able to find a nice spot and get her into some galloping room and see what she can do. Tommy (Berry) went back down onto the fence to let her improve and I think she was a little field shy down on the fence. That’s all just part of the learning experience but I thought she finished off in good style.

Horse: Highness
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 3, Breeders’ Plate) He seems to have trained on quite well from his trial. There’s quite a few variables in terms of where you end up in the run, with every horse having their first start, but he’s done enough to say he will run a creditable race. He probably surprised me a bit in how much speed he showed out of the gates. But that was a nice surprise and hopefully that can help him find a good spot.

Horse: Communist
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 8, Epsom Hcp) The Randwick Guineas winner has been seemingly out of form this spring with failures in the Winx Stakes and Tramway Stakes, both at 1400m, but the wide barriers didn’t give him the chance to travel in either. He had a week or 10 days of working up the hill and going out in the paddock for a few hours a day to break up the routine. I think horses appreciate that and he seemed to come back with a bit of pep in his step. We’ll certainly know a lot more about where we are at, on face value he’s drawn a nice enough gate (6) to get a good economical run on what is his favourite track and distance. His trial last Friday was a nice one, somewhat unextended on a pretty choppy track. I was happy with how he came through that as was Dylan (Gibbons) and he’s had a good week. We’ve tried to mix things up a bit but the key is getting him into a spot where he can get a nice run. He hasn’t had an opportunity in his last couple from wide gates that have made life a bit tough. He normally begins well so it gives Dylan a few options to try and find that good run in the first half a dozen.

From David Payne

Horse: Agita
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 5, Dulcify Stakes) He’s still learning, he looks a nice late maturer. He’s a nice horse, more of a Derby horse I would think. I gave him a week in the paddock after his last run so I want to kick him off there (Dulcify Stakes) and go to the Gloaming and then the Spring Champion (Stakes).

From James Cummings

Horse: Tom Kitten
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 5, Dulcify Stakes) There’s a little bit to play out. There’s a very suitable race in Sydney on the same day (as the Caulfield Guineas) in the Gloaming (over 1800m). We’re prepared to keep him in Sydney if we think that’s the right way to get him ready for the Spring Champion Stakes. I’m delighted with Tom Kitten, he’s had the right preparation. With the two runs under his belt since, and with the very good form, he’s ready to step out to 1600m now in a big field. You’ve seen a horse like Griff come down to Melbourne with the Tom Kitten form and perform well. There’s nothing wrong with the form out of the Ming Dynasty. It’ll be an interesting race but our Tom Kitten is ready to charge to the line.

Horse: Athelric
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 7, Premiere Stakes) He got beaten four lengths and probably was cost a length or a length and a half when he got buffeted with 150m to go (in the Shorts). He can give a bit of a sight but it will set him up well to be a chance in the Sydney Stakes. I think he will acquit himself a bit better than he did first-up and he’s still improving.

Horse: Zapateo
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 7, Premiere Stakes) I really think she’s going well. There was a slight suspicion I had going into the first-up run that she might have trialled a bit too well in the week leading up to that race. There’s a lot to like of the form coming out of the Sheraco. We feel our mare hasn’t gone backwards.

Horse: Golden Mile
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 8, Epsom Hcp) Blake (Shinn) has got his work cut out for him (from barrier 21), but it’s not entirely impossible for widely drawn runners to win big mile races at Randwick. He’s kept improving and he looks better than he has all preparation. I think he has to be ridden right to get the full 1600m, but things can unfold from out there.

From Joseph Pride

Horse: Think About It
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 7, Premiere Stakes) The gelding played up in the parade ring prior to his winter carnival wins at Eagle Farm and I don’t want a repeat. He’s always been a bit like that, but Eagle Farm was the height of it, although he still won. He can afford to play around and be a bit of a goof and still perform, but he could hurt himself too, so we just want him doing the right thing. This is the same track, same distance, same pre-parade as what we’re going to have on Everest day and it will be a busy day, there will be a big crowd, so it will be a good simulation. I’m thinking he at least has to put in a performance that is as good as a win.

From Kerry Parker

Horse: Hope In Your Heart
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 8, Epsom Hcp) Earlier this year she won the Group 2 Guy Walter first-up before Group 1 fourths in the Coolmore Classic and Doncaster Mile and a 2nd in the Queen Of The Turf. I’m hoping they (blinkers) will help her travel through the race a bit better, she seems to float through the first half of the race. She’s going terrific, I’m happy with where she’s at now and she looks and she will turn up and race well. I’d rather some genuine leaders in the race to make sure there is pressure but you’d imagine with a full field it will create pressure. She does get the blinkers on so that helps but I won’t be trying to ride her out of her comfort zone.

From Team Snowden

Horse: Invincible Madison
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 2, Gimcrack Stakes) Invincible Madison impressed in her win at the official trials back on September 18. She’s very tractable and from day one she’s been great. She has a good temperament and has the right attributes to get to a good level. She did everything we wanted her to do in the trial, she jumped and sat behind the leader and quickened nicely when asked to in the last 100m.

Horse: Unspoken
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 4, Bisley Workwear Hcp) Import Unspoken was saved from an 1800m race last weekend to stick to the mile second-up in the Bisley Workwear Handicap. I thought he raced a touch fresh the other day and I didn’t want him pulling. We’ve gone back to winkers but I thought the mile race might be better before we step up in trip. We’re not rushing him because there’s a lot of races over the next two months for him. A race like the $2 million Five Diamonds (1800m) could be on the radar for Unspoken who showed a lot more willingness to put himself in the race, settling 4th, when he scored first-up over 1500m at Rosehill three weeks ago. Josh (Parr) said he was quite keen and didn’t take much stoking to get him there, he travelled strongly on the bridle. I wouldn’t mind him in the same spot but more relaxed.

Horse: Mazu
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 7, Premiere Stakes) You need be knowing your horse is going well. He will be there to make a bit of a statement and he’s not far off the mark now so there’s no reason why he won’t be running well. Top three would be great, knowing he’s going forward to his grand final (The Everest) in a fortnight. His work was sharp on Tuesday, we didn’t ask him to do a lot but he wanted to do a lot more so it’s good to see him in that frame of mind. From a good draw (gate 4) it should give him every opportunity to do it. I was left with no choice but to go back after drawing wide (last start) and his sectionals were more than enough to say he can be forgiven. His sectionals backed it up. He broke 33 for the last 600m, and he blew the start and was about seven deep early outside Lost And Running. He’ll probably be three pairs back at the most, I think he is better ridden a bit quiet but we’re not going to give away that barrier too much so we’ll be a lot handier. You’ll see a better performance from him on Saturday.

From John O’Shea

Horse: Benaud
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 9, The Metropolitan) Benaud lines up in Saturday’s The Metropolitan at Randwick as one of the form horses having followed a Wyong Cup (2100m) victory two starts ago with a strong 2nd to exciting import Just Fine in the Kingston Town Stakes (2000m). We went through a process of going through all the little things that might have been bugging him (in the autumn). We ruled each of those things out along the way and once we did that, we knew we’d get him back. Plus building a bit of confidence too, giving him that confidence-boosting win, then going back there and winning the Wyong Cup and then (putting in) another really strong performance the other week. We were keen to give him a run at ten (furlongs, 2000m) the other day because I didn’t think he was ready for a mile-and-a-half. But he’s ready for a mile-and-a-half now, because that was a searching ten and a quality race.

From Marc Chevalier

Horse: Torrens
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 9. The Metropolitan) Even though Torrens is the rank outsider at $101 for Saturday’s assignment, he is unbeaten at three starts over the Randwick 2400m of The Metropolitan trip. (Jenny) Duggan has a real affinity with Torrens, having ridden him four times for three wins for his previous trainer Lauri Parker. I have been keen for Jenny to ride Torrens again for some time, and booked her through her agent [Shaun Flaherty] just after he ran in the Newcastle Gold Cup on September 15. She knows the horse well, and it will be good to get her opinion as to how he feels. Being a seven-year-old stallion, he needs racing to get him to peak fitness. In an ideal world, I would have liked to have given Torrens one more run going into Saturday. But because of the injury in autumn, he needed to be spelled and time has beaten us. Nonetheless, his body condition is looking good. He did his final piece of work this morning and his record at Randwick over the 2400m speaks for itself.

From Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Horse: Converge
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 8, Epsom Handicap) He’s in great shape, he seems pretty well weighted (55kg). A mile should suit, his last few runs have been good. It’s been a little time since he’s won but he does improve second-up and he’s had some good weight-for-age form. A high pressure mile is ideal for him, he’ll be well placed if we can get a bit of speed on.

Horse: Major Beel
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 9, The Metropolitan) Major Beel was beaten 3-1/2 lengths by Just Fine in the Kingston Town, at his third run since his Group 1 win, and he’s now starting to come into his own this preparation. In the Chelmsford (second-up) he was good at weight-for-age, I thought certainly the run still had a bit of merit last start. He’s starting to look for a bit further now. He naturally puts himself on pace, he’s still got more improvement to come and we think he will be better over further again.

Horse: Just Fine
Message: (Saturday, Randwick Race 9, The Metropolitan) We gave him a bit of time, this prep he’s progressed very well. He’d shown quite a bit going into the races but we didn’t expect him to be as effective as he was first time at the mile. Rachel King partnered the six-year-old to his Australian debut win and with the horse carrying just 50kg is reunited in the Metropolitan. Just Fine has managed to beat the handicapper and that will give the gelding every opportunity to continue on his winning way. He’s well weighted in a race like this and I think the 2400m here shouldn’t be a problem. Rachel knows him well, he’s continued to improve each time he’s stepped out. That win last time had so much merit to it. He absorbed a lot of pressure the other day on pace and was still able to show a good turn of foot. He’s shown speed off a strong mile as well so at 2400m he should be even better placed.

From The Editor

Sydney Race 6 – Kimochi
Sydney Race 8 – Hope In Your Heart
Sydney Race 9 – Just Fine

Share this article