Epsom Handicap

The Epsom Handicap is a $350 000 Group 1 handicap for horses aged three years or older. It is run over 1600m at Randwick every October.

It is one of Sydney’s biggest races in the spring, and is often linked with the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) run under the exact same conditions in the autumn. It is characterised by a big field and usually a fair bit of hustle and bustle.

It is named after Epsom Downs racecourse in England, the track to the south of London that has held the Epsom Derby since 1780.

The history of the Epsom Handicap stretches back to 1863 when it was won by Dundee. Since then, six horses have won back-to-back Epsom Handicaps – Masquerade (1882, 1883), Melodrama (1907, 1908), Chatham (1932, 1933), Toi Port (1963, 1964), Super Impose (1990, 1991) and Desert War (2004, 2005). Super Impose also won back-to-back Doncaster Miles in those same two years.

Other notable winners include Amounis (1926, 1928), Nightmarch (1929), Shannon (1945), Noholme (1959), Sky High (1961), Gunsynd (1971), Kinjite (1992), Filante (1996), Shogun Lodge (2000), Clangalang (2003) and Racing To Win (2006).

In 2011, Secret Admirer led home a trifecta of mares when she defeated subsequent Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker and Red Tracer, while 2012 saw Fat Al just hold on from Ambidexter with Rolling Pin third.

Most horses that run in the Epsom Handicap come through races like the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick, the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) and the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill, and the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle.

From the Epsom Handicap, horses will head to races like the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) or the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m). It has also been used as an unorthodox lead up to the Caulfield Cup in recent years by the likes of Secret Admirer, Grand Armee and Desert War.