Similar to its Victorian Group 1 counterpart, the Turnbull Stakes, the Epsom Handicap was first run in 1865.
The Epsom Handicap gets its name from the Epsom Downs Racecourse in southern England, even though the marquee race at the England track, the Epsom Derby, started five years after the Epsom Handicap at Randwick Racecourse.
The race appeals to trainers and connections intent of getting into the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes held later in the spring carnival, as the winner of the Epsom Handicap gains a ballot exemption.
Participating horses must be at least three years old. It is a Group One Race run over 1600 metres and prize money is worth $1 Million dollars.
Epsom Handicap Grade History
The Epsom Handicap has been a Principal race for its entire existence from 1865 until 1979, when it was made a Group 1 event when the current system of race grading went into effect.
Epsom Handicap Distance
Unlike some races that have experienced significant changes to the trip over the years of their existence, the Epsom Handicap has been fairly consistent, allowing for the mild differences in the conversion from furlongs and miles to metres.
It started out as a mile race. A mile is 9.3 metres longer than 1600 metres, for anyone such as ourselves who enjoy such minutiae.
From 1879 to 1884, it was lengthened to 1800 metres, although measurements from that time pegged it as 1-1/8th miles.
It was back to one mile for the races from 1885 to 1971, but with metrification, if became the 1600 metres seen today. That is almost 100 years of consistency, something worth appreciating.
The metric system caught up with racing in 1972 and the race has been 1600 metres since, save for 2001, when it was shortened to 1400 metres and run on Randwick’s inner course.
Epsom Derby Venue
The race has always been at Royal Randwick, except for 1983, when it shifted to Warwick Farm Racecourse while Randwick was briefly unavailable.
|Year||Epsom Handicap Winner|
|2014||He's Your Man|
|2006||Racing To Win|
|1989||From The Planet|
|1968||Speed Of Sound|
|1948||De La Salle|