A total of 88 nominations have been weighed for the 153rd running of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) which will be run at Royal Randwick on 29 September. This year's edition will be run with a 50kg minimum weight (48kg minimum weight for three-year-olds) with total prize money of $1 million. The top weight for the race is defending champion and triple Gr1 winner Happy Clapper who has been allocated 59kg. Next is recent Gr1 Memsie Stakes winner Humidor with 59kg, followed by Le Romain at 58kg and Hartnell with 57kg. Another notable nomination is Randwick Guineas winner and Memsie Stakes runner-up Kementari with 55.5kg. The highest-weighted mare is the 2017 Gr1 Cantala Stakes winner Shillelagh with 53kg, while the 3YOs nominated for the race - Fighting Harada, Master Ash, Tavisan and Seabrook, have all been allocated 48kg. Click here to view Epsom Handicap weights.
Co-trainer Adrian Bott believes promising colt Master Ash can continue his rise through the 3YO ranks when he lines up in the $200,000 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday. The well related Master Ash (Sebring-Hanky Panky, by Anabaa) secured his maiden stakes success when resuming with a strong win in the Gr3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on 18 August. "That was an excellent win. He went to a new level winning the Up And Coming and I think there is still improvement to come," Bott told Sky Sports Radio. "It [the Stan Fox] looks a beautiful race for him on Saturday. He looks really well placed. I think the 1500 metres will really suit him." Bott added: "Everything he is doing at home indicates he is still on an upward spiral so hopefully he can continue to race well as we would love to get him to the Golden Rose [Gr1]." Master Ash is a direct descendant of influential broodmare Easy Date, ancestress of Gr1-winning sire Snippets and Golden Slipper winner Forensics.
At Royal Randwick on Saturday, Widden Stud's former Australian champion 2YO colt Sebring (More Than Ready-Purespeed, by Flying Spur) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Master Ash (Sebring-Hanky Panky, by Anabaa) opened his stakes account when landing the $150,000 Gr3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) for 3YOs, defeating Danawi & Smart Elissim. Trained by Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Master Ash improved his record to 2 wins and 2 placings from 4 starts for $131,560 in earnings. Owned by Mr Muzaffar Yaseen's Teeley Assets, Master Ash was purchased by Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Racing for $170,000 at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. Master Ash is out of the Gr2 Magic Night Stakes placed mare Hanky Panky, an Encosta de Lago half sister to Arrowfield's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt. This makes Master Ash a half-sibling to stakes winners Come Hither and Fun In Flight and a direct descendant of influential broodmare Easy Date, ancestress also of Gr1-winning sire Snippets and Golden Slipper winner Forensics. Master Ash is being aimed at next month's Gr1 Golden Rose (1400m). "He’s held in high regard," Bott told Sky Racing. "In the last six weeks he has developed physically and mentally. Sitting one-one adds another string to his bow. Now that he is a more mature horse, he’s able to do those sort of things."