Long weekend takes off
SYDNEY becomes a mecca for punters and sports fans over the October long weekend.
The Australian Turf Club hosts two race meetings, including Epsom Day at Royal Randwick on Saturday then holiday Monday racing at Warwick Farm.
The Epsom Handicap, the premier race of Sydney’s spring carnival is, for the first time, boasting prizemoney of $1 million.
The stakes boost is over- due recognition for the feature Randwick “mile’’ that was first run in 1865.
Some of the all-time greats of Australian racing have won the Epsom, including Amounis (1926), Chatham (1932-33), Shannon (1945), Sky High (1961), Gunsynd (1971), Super Impose (1990-91) and Racing To Win (2006).
The Epsom hasn’t been a kind race for mares with only two being successful since 1960: Chantal (1966) and Secret Admirer (2011).
Saturday’s Epsom looks likely to be dominated by mares with the Chris Waller-trained Winx a favourite. GREAT SUPPORT ACTS THERE are three Group 1 races on Epsom day, with the $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) and $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m) the main support races.
The Metropolitan, first run in 1866, is the feature staying race of the Sydney spring carnival. Epsom Day includes nine Group or Listed races, including the first juvenile races of the new season, the Breeders Plate for colts and geldings, and Gimcrack Stakes for fillies. SPEAK FONDLY OF FILLY MY TIP for this weekend is Speak Fondly in the Flight Stakes at Royal Randwick.