Long week­end takes off

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

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.

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