Race Time: 2.35pm Meeting: Epsom Distance: 1m 2f 18yds
Full Race Name: Investec Wealth & Investment Stakes (Handicap) Class Two
Welcome to the wonderful world of tricky trappy handicaps on switchback undulating turning tracks – not for the faint-hearted punter that’s for sure! As we write, 25 horses have been declared, but if top weight Fattsota (14/1) stands his ground then the bottom six will all have to carry more weight than their allotted mark, and in theory they are all out of the running – if only life was so simple? As for the number one, he is trained by David O’Meara so all things are possible (he is in amongst the winners once again), so he can hardly be written off, nine stone ten or not! Now a seven year old, he is rated 110 here (a drop of two pounds on last time out), but still seven pounds (or half a stone) higher than his best ever winning mark, and enough to put us off here, good as he is. Recent seasons have seen us all make money by backing the Mark Johnston/Silvestre De Sousa combination, and as things stand it looks as though the brilliant Brazilian has the mount on Master Of Finance (8/1) of the stable’s four options, for what that is worth. Already a winner this season at Pontefract in this grade though off a handicap mark eleven pounds lower, he has also placed at Chester and York in high class races, the last one a half length behind Mahsoob which saw him hammered in the weights, but he is classy and consistent and cannot be easily written off at this early stage.
Looking for a couple of dark horses to throw in to the mix, and with the William Haggas yard in such fine form it would be stupid of us to ignore Seagull Star (8/1) who may well be a fair bit better than his handicap mark. After winning his maiden at Newmarket as a two year old he was thrown in to Group races last season with no success, though there is nothing to be ashamed of in a fourth to Orchestra in the Chester Vase over a mile and a half, though his last of nine to Eagle Top takes a bit more forgiving! If we ignore that run and look at the Chester Vase he was only ten lengths behind the winner who was last rated 110 yet gets in here off of 93 – he could well have sneaked in under the radar and with the drop back in trip possibly ideal, expect a better run than his form might suggest at first glance. Sennockian Star (7/1) is another Mark Johnston horse worth considering with Joe Fanning doing the steering this time. He is as tough as teak and has already raced nine times in 2015, but showed he still has some sparkle with a win last time out at Chelmsford he arrives at the top of his game, and actually races today off a rating one pound lower for some unknown reason.
Lastly, Amanda Perrett trains the six-year-old Burano (12/1) who used to be with Brian Meehan, but switched yards and owners this February after being sold for 40,000 Guineas. He has won three races in his career, a Listed contest in Meydan and two handicaps at Newbury and Lingfield (last time out), and is only four pounds higher here, and if they have got him back to his very best (they used to really like him a few years back), then there is every chance he can follow up again today.