BACKING a horse that was an unlucky loser on its previous start is arguably a quick way to the poor house. Backing a horse that’s been unlucky in three of his last four starts is probably the quickest route to the mad house, but I’m still keen to take a chance on LUNGARNO PALACE in the Investec Great Metropolitan Handicap (2.45pm).
My selection may only be a four-year-old, but already has 12 career runs under his belt including two wins and, more importantly, a spin around Epsom. He has shaped like the step up to 1m 4f will suit him down to the ground, as he’s been finishing his races off over shorter with a frustrating late rattle.
He runs off just a 1lb higher mark than when beaten a whisker at this very track when again running out of time over 10 furlongs. He met trouble in-running at Doncaster last time and arrives here race-fit with two runs under his belt already this campaign. At 9/2 he has to be backed each-way with Betway.
The biggest danger to my selection may well be Jakey, who meets Lugarno Palace on much better terms than when finishing behind him at Epsom last July. He is weighted to reverse that form, but his ungainly style and questionable head carriage are major causes for concern.
Mark Johnston’s Stetchworth currently shares the top of the betting, but I’ve got reservations about the trip for this lightly-raced four-year-old. He weakened dramatically – admittedly in a much hotter contest – at Newmarket when stepped up this distance at the back-end of last season and that has to be a worry.
Instant Karma makes his handicap debut for Michael Bell having bolted up in a soft-ground maiden at Pontefract last October. That looked a really weak contest, though, and the ground will be much faster this afternoon.
Sennockian Star, last year’s winner of the Investec City And Suburban Stakes (3.55pm), looks to have had a very similar preparation 12 months on and has to be respected off just a 1lb higher mark. You can put a line through his last run and he looks sure to go close – it’s just off-putting that stable jockey Joe Fanning appears to have deserted him for Fire Fighting.
Luca Cumani landed the Spring Cup at Newbury last weekend and many will fancy his Mount Logan to go close from near the top of the handicap. My concerns with him are that he holds few secrets from the handicapper and I’ve a feeling he may be seen to better effect over further.
At the prices, I’m prepared to take a chance on WHAT ABOUT CARLO at 5/1 with Betway after his really nice seasonal bow at Doncaster in the Betway Lincoln. He did all his best work late and the extra two furlongs will suit him down to the ground, as it did when winning over this trip at Epsom on Derby Day last year. Eve Johnson Houghton has her string in really good order and What About Carlo looks the value call.
American Artist looks very well-handicapped in the finale (5.05pm), but the same can be said about several of the 10 runners, so it may be safer to keep our powder dry.
LUNGARNO PALACE e/w 2.45pm Epsom
WHAT ABOUT CARLO 3.55pm Epsom