Race Time: 3.45pm Meeting: Epsom Distance: 1m 114yds
Full Race Name: Investec Mile (Handicap) Class Two
A standard handicap for four year olds or above with the usual suspects entered – those falling down the weights as they look to rekindle glories from the past, and those forced in to better quality races after decent runs at lesser tracks have seen their ratings rocket. In the absence of Penitent, Abseil (11/4) is all set to carry top weight here and is quite interesting as a five year old who just so happened to win this race last year off a rating seven pounds lower than today. Sir Michael Stoute is still quite ruthless when it comes to emptying out horses he feels aren’t up to the standard he expects, yet he keeps this five year old son of First Defence in training which may well tell its own story? A maiden win and the same handicap are the only wins on his CV so far, but he looked promising when third to Alfred Hutchinson at York in a Listed handicap, only beaten half a length, though the handicapper also spotted the run and put him up three pounds. With only the ten runs on his race record gther3e could well be more improvement still to come, and with Ryan Moore likely to ride, he has all the makings of going off favourite today at the very least.
We like Ed Dunlop who is always helpful with the media and he sends the consistent God Willing (8/1) here though we suggest a place is the best he can hope for. He certainly ought to finish ahead of Lacan on Chelmsford form as he is eight pounds better off for less than a length, but he has now been placed in the first four in eight of his last twelve races since a maiden win at Newbury back in August 2013, suggesting he may be one of those horses who simply doesn’t want to win enough? Lower down the weights, the Mick Channon trained Gratzie (7/1) needs a mention having won her last three races in 2014, one at Bath and two at Epsom. They were admittedly in lower class but she would run off a featherweight this afternoon in comparison to the burdens she has been carrying, and with the excellent Charles Bishop expected to ride, she may be able to sneak in to the places and at a working man’s price. Staying lower down the weights, Richard Fahey will be hoping Penitent comes out of the race so that the weights carried rise and Obsidian (12/1) gets to carry the correct weight. After competing over a mile and a quarter without success as a three year old, he was dropped back to a mile at Thirsk to take his maiden, but then found it all happening too quickly over seven at Newcastle, hence the sensible return to a mile today. With so few miles on the clock and a handicap rating of just 81 he may be thrown in here and if there is a shock his trainer is invariably the man most capable of providing it, and we can certainly see him running well here. Lastly, we cannot avoid Lacan (8/1) who caught the eye last time out when winning at Chelmsford despite a tardy start, giving lengths away as the stalls opened. Only put up three pounds for that win he was possibly value for a lot more (if he had broken with the rest of the field), and with Marc Monaghan reunited and claiming three pounds, he may well make a valiant attempt at a successful follow up though there is a question mark over whether he has better form on the polytrack than he has on the turf of course?