Epsom Handicap

The Epsom Handicap, traditionally run at the Royal Randwick Racecourse in late September / early October, occupies a significant place within the Sydney Spring Carnival, offering a generous total prize money of $1.5m. It is one of the two major middle distance races on the calendar run at Royal Randwick, with the other being the Doncaster Mile which is run in the Autumn carnival.  The race day itself is known as ‘Epsom Day’ and has a wonderful supporting cast of races on the card, including two other Group 1s in the Flight Stakes and the Metropolitan. Join us as we scrutinise this highly anticipated event and prepare for its upcoming renewal in 2023, and take a deeper look at the following:

The Feature Race: 2023 Epsom Handicap

The Epsom Handicap is one of the Sydney Spring Carnival’s major races run under handicap conditions for horses 3 years old and upwards.  Run over 1600m (or the mille as it used to be known) it offers a lucrative total prize money of $1.5m and we look at the breakdown of that prize money in detail.  

Where to Place Your Bets

When the Epsom Handicap comes around, an assortment of Australian bookmakers will be ready to accommodate your betting needs. These platforms provide access to the dynamic world of thoroughbred horse racing, enhancing your race experience by facilitating your wagers. In this guide, we also highlight five Australian bookmakers that we highly recommend, which could be your ideal choice for placing bets on the 2023 Epsom Handicap.

Betting Guide: Epsom Handicap and More

Wagering on the Epsom Handicap and other prestigious Group 1 Australian horse races presents a chance to demonstrate your understanding of the sport. The betting options range from simple fixed win or place bets to the more intricate exotic wagers. Regardless of whether you favor accumulators, exotics, or have an interest in certain jockeys or the day's favored bets, our exhaustive guide will arm you with the insights necessary to make informed betting choices. Keep an eye out for our specialized "How to Bet" section, which will offer invaluable information about the diverse wagering options available in the Epsom Handicap and other Australian races.

The Venue 

As we delve deeper into the illustrious Epsom Handicap, it's essential to highlight the venue that has hosted this historic race for over a century - the Royal Randwick Racecourse. This iconic course, renowned for its rich history and excellent racing surface, serves as a grand stage for some of the most captivating contests in Australian horse racing. Positioned in Sydney's eastern suburbs, Randwick Racecourse isn't just a racing venue; it's a symbol of Australia's profound equestrian heritage. We explore in a little depth this distinguished venue, its unique characteristics, and its significant role in the staging of the Epsom Handicap.

The History of the Race

When we talk about the Epsom Handicap, we're delving into an engaging narrative woven with determination, triumph, and legacy. Established in 1865, the Epsom Handicap has been an integral chapter in the annals of Australian horse racing, mirroring the sport's evolution over more than a century. The journey of this esteemed event is teeming with notable moments and remarkable performances from the country's most talented milers and middle-distance runners. W’ll journey back in time to revisit the race's inception, its defining moments, and its evolution into the celebrated competition it is today.

Previous Epsom Handicap Winners

With a legacy dating back to 1865, the Epsom Handicap holds a storied roster of distinguished champions. We've compiled a comprehensive list that traces the history of this prestigious race, highlighting every Epsom Handicap victor from its inception until the most recent 2022 winners - more later on that!. 

From Dundee, the inaugural Epsom Handicap winner, to dual champions like Super Impose, the list is filled with memorable moments and remarkable feats. We cannot fail to mention Winx, one of the most famous Epsom Handicap victors of recent times, whose maiden Group 1 success in Sydney began here in 2015. 

The Feature Race – The Epsom Handicap

Date: Saturday 7 October
Time: TBA
Prize Money: $1.5m

Scheduled to take place on Saturday 7 October 2023 at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney,  the Epsom Handicap is  one of the biggest races of the Sydney Spring Carnival, and it’s the feature race on a very strong racing card that day, referred to as ‘Epsom Day’.

With a very attractive $1.5m in total prize money on offer for connections it is a very significant race to win, and prize money is paid all the way down to 10th place.

For the full prize money allocation see below:

PlacingPrize Money
6th, 7th, and 8th$15,000
9th and 10th$10,000

As the lineup for the 2023 Epsom Handicap has yet to be unveiled, and no future odds are presently available from premier Australian horse racing bookmakers, we won't be on October 7, 2023, in this preview. Instead, we'll take a step back to reminisce on the outcomes of the 2022 Epsom Handicap, with a particular focus on the top 5 placings, as well as a brief recap of their performance. For a complete list of every victor in the race's extensive history, check the "Past Winners of the Epsom Handicap" section towards the conclusion of this preview.

1= Ellsberg and Top Ranked - both horses went to the line in absolute ‘ head bobber’ finish and the judge could not separate them from the photo.  Having both settled midfield they took differing runs in the straight with Ellsberg staying inside and Top Ranked opting to go wider.  It looked like Top Ranked was going to edge it before Ellsberg kicked up hard over the last 100 to make it a dead heat.

3.Hinged - was put into a lovely spot behind the speed and looked the winner at one stage.  In the end she fought on courageously and was only beaten a neck by the dead heating duo.  It was an outstanding effort.

4.Icebath - started favourite and was given every possible chance but just didn’t show up in the finish and never looked a threat to the placegetters.

5.Nimalee - she was brave and having done plenty of work in the early part of the race to end up on the speed she too fought on bravely but the early effort in the run likely cost her at the end of the race.  

Place, Race Number, Horse Name, Time /  Margin Back

1. 3 Ellsberg and 1 Top Ranked (Dead Heat)1:38.12

3.  8 Hinged 0.34L

4. 5 Icebath 5.34L

5 . 4 Nimalee 6.4L

It’s hard to imagine that lightning will strike twice and we’ll have another dea Heat for the 2023 renewal of the Epsom Handicap but let’s hope for another thrilling affair, and mark your calendars for Oct 7 2023 to see how it will unfold.

Where to Bet on the 2024 Epsom Handicap

The 2023 Epsom Handicap is shaping up to be a thrilling Group 1 race hosted at the the Royal Randwick Racecourse. Although this preview doesn't detail the line-up of runners, it can still provide guidance on picking the right bookmaker for wagering on the event. The selection of an Australian bookmaker can seem daunting, but we aim to simplify it by recommending a handful of trustworthy choices. Prior to delving into these suggestions, it's crucial to examine the Epsom Handicap field and determine your preferred horses to bet on.

A significant consideration when choosing a bookmaker is the odds they present. It might take some diligence, but checking multiple bookmakers and contrasting the odds they offer for your chosen market can assist you in pinpointing the bookie with the most favourable odds. By selecting the bookmaker with the highest odds, your potential payout is amplified. Our Bookmaker Reviews page can provide a detailed list of Australian bookmakers that cater to Group 1 thoroughbred horse racing markets.

Comfort level with a certain bookmaker is another consideration. Many Australian bettors tend to stick with bookmakers they're acquainted with, be it due to a frequently used app or website. Staying loyal to a bookmaker with which you're comfortable placing bets is entirely justifiable. Our Bookmaker Reviews page offers insights into each bookie's reliability, aiding you in making an informed selection.

Promotional offers also significantly influence bookmaker choice. Visit our OnlyRacing Promotions page to discover various bonuses and promotions offered by Australian bookmakers when depositing with them. Some bookies may feature special promotions for the Epsom Handicap, so it's worth examining these opportunities as well.

In the end, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to selecting a bookmaker for the 2023 Epsom Handicap. The three considerations mentioned above are all relevant. However, it's vital to bet with a reputable bookmaker and provide any necessary verification details before wagering. We've included an excerpt from our OnlyRacing Reviews page below, showcasing five Australian bookmakers that feature markets for Group 1 thoroughbred races nationwide. Clicking on the hyperlinks will grant you in-depth information about each bookmaker's offerings.

The key is to select a bookmaker that aligns with your needs and preferences, guaranteeing a secure and enjoyable betting experience for the 2023 Epsom Handicap.

The Venue - Royal Randwick Racecourse

The jewel in the crown of Sydney racing, Royal Randwick Racecourse, located a mere 5km from the bustling CBD, is not only the principal racecourse in New South Wales but also Australia’s oldest racing venue. It holds a prestigious position within the Australian Turf Club and the wider racing world, hosting many of the nation's most celebrated races.

Racing began at this historic venue in June 1833 under the stewardship of the Australian Jockey Club. The club was granted official ownership of the land in 1863, and it remained under their control until a 2011 merger with the Sydney Turf Club, forming the Australian Turf Club (ATC) we know today.

The course itself boasts unique features like 'The Rise'—an incline located just 400m from the winning post—and starting chutes at the 1000m, 1200m, and 1400m points. The track has a 410m home straight and a full circumference of 2224m, making it a testing ground for equine athletes.

One notable recognition for the course was in 1992, when Queen Elizabeth II granted permission for it to be officially named Royal Randwick during her visit to the course. In addition to royal visits, the venue has played host to diverse events, ranging from Papal Masses and rock concerts to major conferences and the remarkable 2008 World Youth Day vigil, which attracted over 400,000 attendees.

Royal Randwick is home to some of Australia's most iconic races, including the ATC Australian Derby, the Doncaster Mile, and the Epsom Handicap. However, the world's richest turf race, The Everest, with a prize purse of $14 million in 2019, has quickly gained prominence.

Over the years, Royal Randwick has seen many great champions grace its tracks, including Phar Lap, Tulloch, and Kingston Town. The legendary mare Winx holds a remarkable record here, retiring in 2019 with an unbeaten streak of 33 races, including 25 Group 1s, many of which were won at Royal Randwick. Future developments, including a public stand named the Winx Stand in her honour, underline the significance of her achievements.

With world-class facilities, a rich history, and an ongoing commitment to excellence, Royal Randwick Racecourse remains a cornerstone of Australian horse racing.

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The History of the Race

Regarded as one of Australia's most prominent mile handicaps for thoroughbreds aged three and upwards, the Epsom Handicap has been a significant part of the Australian turf calendar since its inception in 1863. Named after the famous Epsom Downs racecourse in the south of England, where the world famous Epsom Derby is held annually, the race has established a rich history, with many of Australia's best milers and middle-distance horses leaving their marks on this prestigious trophy.

The first Epsom Handicap race was won by a horse named Dundee, marking the start of a long-standing tradition of excellence. Throughout its storied history, the race has experienced minor modifications. Originally contested over 1600 metres, race organisers expanded the course to 1800 metres in 1879. However, this change was short-lived, with the distance reverting to a mile (approximately 1600 metres) in 1885, a format that continues to this day.

Several memorable moments and records are associated with the Epsom Handicap. In 1897, jockey Jim McHugh, who was just 11 years old at the time, won the event in what was only his second race. Moreover, Donald Nicolson remarkably managed to win this race five consecutive times from 1880 to 1884. Gai Waterhouse holds the record for the most wins by a trainer, with seven victories, while the legendary mare Winx, trained by Chris Waller, claimed her first Sydney Group 1 in this race, a notable milestone in her extraordinary unbeaten streak of 33 races.

The Epsom Handicap gained further prestige when it was upgraded from principal status to Group 1 status in 1979, solidifying its position as one of the most sought-after victories in Australian horse racing. It's one of the major drawcards of the Sydney Spring Carnival and forms a part of "Super Saturday", held alongside other Group 1 events like The Metropolitan and the Flight Stakes. This grand day usually precedes the NRL Grand Final, creating an action-packed weekend of sports.

Perhaps the most memorable moment in Epsom Handicap history came courtesy of Super Impose, who achieved an unprecedented feat by winning four consecutive mile races - two Epsoms and two Doncasters - with his run culminating in a triumphant performance in the 1991 Epsom under a significant 61kg weight.

Today, the Epsom Handicap remains a highlight of the Australian racing calendar, attracting top-class milers and promising three-year-olds. The winner is exempt from the ballot for the following year's Queen Elizabeth Stakes, further emphasising the race's significance within the sport. With a rich history and a $1.5 million prize purse, the Epsom Handicap continues to be a coveted prize for trainers, jockeys, and horse owners alike.

Past Winners of the Race

An illustrious list of winners and stars of the Australian turf.

  • 2022: Ellsberg / Private Eye

  • 2021: Private Eye

  • 2020: Probabeel

  • 2019: Kolding

  • 2018: Hartnell

  • 2017: Happy Clapper

  • 2016: Hauraki

  • 2015: Winx

  • 2014: He’s Your Man

  • 2013: Boban

  • 2012: Fat Al

  • 2011: Secret Admirer

  • 2010: Captain Sonador

  • 2009: Rock Kingdom

  • 2008: Theseo

  • 2007: Race Not Held due to Equine Influenza

  • 2006: Racing To Win

  • 2005: Desert War

  • 2004: Desert War

  • 2003: Clangalang

  • 2002: Excellerator

  • 2001: Final Fantasy

  • 2000: Shogun Lodge

  • 1999: Allez Suez

  • 1998: Dodge

  • 1997: Iron Horse

  • 1996: Filante

  • 1995: Nick’s Joy

  • 1994: Navy Seal

  • 1993: Golden Sword

  • 1992: Kinjite

  • 1991: Super Impos

  • 1990: Super Impose

  • 1989: From The Planet

  • 1988: Regal Native

  • 1987: Sound Horizon

  • 1986: Chanteclair

  • 1985: Magnitude

  • 1984: Riverdale

  • 1983: Cool River

  • 1982: Dalmacia

  • 1981: Gold Circle

  • 1980: Bold Diplomat

  • 1979: Imposing

  • 1978: Leonotis

  • 1977: Raffindale

  • 1976: La Neige

  • 1975: Authentic Heir

  • 1974: Citadel

  • 1973: Lord Nelson

  • 1972: Triton

  • 1971: Gunsynd

  • 1970: Ricochet

  • 1969: Broker’s Tip

  • 1968: Speed Of Sound

  • 1967: Cabochon

  • 1966: Chantal

  • 1965: Even Better

  • 1964: Toi Port

  • 1963: Toi Port

  • 1962: Rochdale

  • 1961: Sky High

  • 1960: Ma Cherie

  • 1959: Noholme

  • 1958: Turkestan

  • 1957: Timor

  • 1956: Knave

  • 1955: Hans

  • 1954: Connaught

  • 1953: Silver Phantom

  • 1952: High Law

  • 1951: Davey Jones

  • 1950: Achilles

  • 1949: Denali

  • 1948: De La Salle

  • 1947: Titanic

  • 1946: Blue Legend

  • 1945: Shannon

  • 1944: Modulation

  • 1943: Kiaree

  • 1942: Freckles

  • 1941: Rimveil

  • 1940: High Caste

  • 1939: Geebung

  • 1938: King’s Head

  • 1937: Gold Rod

  • 1936: Capris

  • 1935: Synagogue

  • 1934: Silver Ring

  • 1933: Chatham

  • 1932: Chatham

  • 1931: Autopay 
  • 1930: Cathmar
  • 1929: Nightmarch
  • 1928: Amounis
  • 1927: Vaals
  • 1926: Amounis
  • 1925: Boaster / Metellus
  • 1924: Blackadder
  • 1923: Claro
  • 1922: Rostrum
  • 1921: Beauford
  • 1920: Greenstead
  • 1919: Wolaroi
  • 1918: Rebus
  • 1917: Satin Bird
  • 1916: Panacre
  • 1915: Woorak
  • 1914: Portrush
  • 1913: Aleconner
  • 1912: Hartfell
  • 1911: Volsloane
  • 1910: Silver Hampton
  • 1909: Hyman
  • 1908: Melodrama
  • 1907: Melodrama
  • 1906: Maximize
  • 1905: Sleeper
  • 1904: Contest
  • 1903: Famous
  • 1902: Air Motor
  • 1901: Sequence
  • 1900: Ampier
  • 1899: Djin Djin
  • 1898: Alemene
  • 1897: Robin Hood
  • 1896: Steward
  • 1895: Hopscotch
  • 1894: Uabba
  • 1893: Brockleigh
  • 1892: Daredevil
  • 1891: Marvel
  • 1890: Bungebah
  • 1889: Novice
  • 1888: Stockwell
  • 1887: Phaon
  • 1886: Zeno
  • 1885: Folly
  • 1884: Espiegle
  • 1883: Masquerade
  • 1882: Masquerade
  • 1881: Waxy
  • 1880: Master Avenel
  • 1879: Sweetmeat
  • 1878: Viscount
  • 1877: Eva
  • 1876: Malta
  • 1875: Evangeline
  • 1874: Westminster
  • 1873: Atalanta / Kingfisher
  • 1872: The Count
  • 1871: Captain Cook
  • 1870: Deceptive
  • 1869: Circassian
  • 1868: Phoebe
  • 1867: Birmingham
  • 1866: Rapidan
  • 1865: Dundee

Note: Dead Heat in 1873, 1925, and 2022.

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