On a very busy Saturday we swing into action early, with the Portland Handicap surprisingly perhaps the opener at Doncaster (1.50).
There are two immediate eyecatchers here, both of whom sparkled in the race last year, A MOMENTOFMADNESS, the winner twelve months ago, and WENTWORTH FALLS who finished third. A Momentofmadness runs off a 4 lbs. lower mark now, understandable perhaps as he really hasn't caught fire this season. Yet there was a notable, and timely improvement last time out at York where he ran well before fading late, and he finished a close up sixth to Dakota Gold beaten less than a length and a half.
What is particularly interesting about that revival is that William Buick - who gets on so well with him - was back in the plate, and he's again on board today and indeed was booked for the ride last Sunday. The combination made all in this race last year and Charlie Hills will have the six year old cherry ripe today. He merits special attention as he returns to form as he is a sharp operator on his day and has won eight times.
Wentworth Falls is also in on a mark 4 lbs. lower than when making the frame in this race from off the pace last year. That time he really flew home but it was all too late as A Momentofmadness had slipped the field before his main rivals hit top gear. Wenworth Falls was hot stuff earlier this season, with a very close second to Sir Maximlian over six furlongs at this track in May a particularly noteworthy effort. He also gave Soldiers Minute plenty to think about when chasing him home over the same trip at York.
Since then he's been running well enough without troubling the judge unduly, and if we ignore his last pretty tame effort at Thirsk, he could be quite well treated now having slipped 5 lbs. in the ratings. There can be little doubt that after his somewhat unlucky third in the race last year, this has been a prime target for connections and he now sneaks in at the bottom of the weights.
Bielsa has obvious claims too, Muthmir has scored on both visits to this track, and Frankie Dettori is a plum booking for in form track and trip winner Justanotherbottle. Donnacha O'Brien could be just the man to reload serious ammunition with Gunmetal who has been firing blanks lately. But it's hard to get away from two horses who shone in this contest last year A Momentofmadness and Wentworth Falls.
1/2 Point Each Way Amomentofmadness (7/1 Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook both paying 6 places)
1/2 Point Each Way Wentworth Falls (12/1 William Hill paying 7 places)
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