Last chance to make Ep­som

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - SPORT - Ray Thomas

THE Shan­non Stakes and Colin Stephen Qual­ity could be re­named the “Last Chance Stakes” at Rose­hill Gar­dens on Satur­day.

That’s be­cause it will be the fi­nal op­por­tu­nity for fringe con­tenders for the $1 mil­lion Ep­som Hand­i­cap and $750,000 The Metropoli­tan to se­cure starts in the big Group 1 races at Royal Rand­wick on Oc­to­ber 3.

The win­ner of the Group 2 $175,000 Shan­non Stakes (1500m) is guar­an­teed a start in next week’s Ep­som.

Sim­i­larly, the win­ner of the Group 3 $125,000 Colin Stephen Qual­ity au­to­mat­i­cally qual­i­fies for The Metropoli­tan.

Although the Shan­non is a cru­cial Ep­som lead-up, re­mark­ably no horse has com­pleted the dou­ble since Dal­ma­cia in 1982.

CATKINS ON TAR­GET CATKINS, Syd­ney’s most pop­u­lar race mare, is aim­ing for her 17th ca­reer win in the Group 2 $400,000 Golden Pen­dant (1400m) at the Rose­hill meet­ing.

The grey mare re­sumed rac­ing with a bril­liant win in the Sher­aco Stakes, sweep­ing past Echo Gal and Bound­ing to win easily, tak­ing her ca­reer earn­ings over the $2 mil­lion bar­rier.

Catkins is now a six-yearold but re­tains her zest for rac­ing and is an over­whelm­ing crowd favourite to win the Golden Pen­dant.

The Golden Pen­dant, the fea­ture fil­lies and mares race of the Syd­ney spring car­ni­val, is de­serv­ing of Group 1 sta­tus and surely the Aus­tralian Pat­tern Com­mit­tee must look favourably at any case to el­e­vate the race’s rank­ing.

WATCH FOR WALLER MY TIP for this week­end is to fol­low trainer Chris Waller. Syd­ney’s premier trainer has had a sen­sa­tional start to the new sea­son and his horses in­vari­ably race well on their home track of Rose­hill Gar­dens.

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