Bookmakers at Ladbrokes.com.au can’t split Kiwi galloper Te Akau Shark and the Chris Waller trained Kolding with both sharing favouritism on race morning for the Group 1 $1m Epsom (1600m) at Randwick.
The Jamie Richards trained Te Akau Shark and last start Bill Ritchie Handicap winner Kolding are both sitting on $5.50 after there has been steady support for both runners.
Both runners have drawn awkwardly with Kolding to jump from barrier twelve and Te Akau Shark to come out of gate fifteen in the nineteen horse Epsom field.
Sydney’s leading jockey, James McDonald, rode Te Akau Shark at his most recent outing when runner up to Epsom topweight Dreamforce in the Group 2 $200,000 Harvey Norman Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick four weeks ago and said that the wide barrier won’t be an excuse.
“I wasn’t too concerned where he drew — I just didn’t want an inside gate,’’ McDonald told The Daily Telegraph.
“Te Akau Shark prefers to get to the outside of them, he needs a bit of room.
“From the 1600m start at Randwick, the wide barrier is not the biggest issue in the world, anyway. We still need a bit of luck, obviously, but from out there he will get his chance.’’
“I know Te Akau Shark was beaten three lengths by Dreamforce but we meet that horse 3kg better at the weights in the Epsom.’’
Kolding is way down in the weights with only 50.5kg and Randwick Mile specialist Glen Boss is very keen on his chances after he drops 6.5kg on his win in the Group 3 $160,000 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick a fortnight ago.
“Kolding has got it all there to say he should run very well,’’ Boss told The Daily Telegraph.
“I think he is a good horse when under pressure and he gets into the Epsom with only 50.5kg, which is massive.
“Even longshots run well with lightweights in these big Randwick miles. I’ve seen horses with no form run second or third in Epsoms and Doncasters.’’
Kolding capped off his Winter campaign with a win in the Group 2 $350,000 Ascot Green Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 and then resumed for a first up fifth to Dreamforce for Hugh Bowman in the Group 2 $200,000 Harvey Norman Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 7.
Boss, who is chasing a fourth win in the Epsom, took over from Bowman in the Bill Ritchie Stakes but was impressed with the Chris Waller trained four year old’s effort in the Tramway Stakes.
“He had no luck behind the Dreamforce and Te Akau Shark in the Tramway, he virtually just cantered up behind the leaders that day, before he won the Bill Ritchie last start,’’ Boss said.
Betting for the 2019 Epsom at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5.50 Kolding, Te Akau Shark, $7.50 Rock, Dreamforce, $11 Cascadian, Gem Song, $15 Star Of The Seas, $19 Fifty Stars, Unforgotten, $21 Best Of Days, $21 Desert Lord, Junipal, Nettoyer, $34 Mr Marathon Man, $51 Kaonic, $67 Archedemus, $91 Mantastic, $126 The Candy Man, $151 Le Juge.