15 Sept 2018

William Hill Portland Handicap (Class 2)

This week it's the venerable St Leger meeting, as the flat moves into the backend with the Cheltenham Showcase meeting just 6 weeks away.

The Portland is an excellent betting handicap, made all the more interesting by the 5.5 furlong trip, which may account for the fact that 6 of the last 10 Portland winners returned SP's of 14/1+. Moreover, in just the last 4 years alone 7 runners made the first 5 at prices of 20/1+. 

With several firms betting to 6 places the Portland is a solidly interesting race for value players.

I took a long spin through the various candidates and Charlie Hill's A MOMENTOFMADNESS, despite being generally dismissed by the market as an out of form 5fl specialist, looks a prime contender.

A Momentofmadness previously went close over this trip and going at York in a more valuable race, and last year was right there in this race until hampered entering the last half furlong. Even then he would have finished 4th but his jockey (literally) stopped riding when his chance had gone.

As regards current form, his last 3 runs took place when the yard was under a cloud and that's merely served to bring his mark down. He's still 4lbs higher than last year, but arguably at least a 6lb better horse this year as a 5-y-o. Back in April and May he was flying, as was the yard and they've been back in excellent form since August. 

Crucially, having won 3 times returning from a break, A Momentofmadness has been deliberately freshened up and is likely to arrive in much better form and condition than the market predicts. 

William Buick remains on board, as he has been for both wins this season and the going looks like being a bit faster than last year which is all to the good. The yard also won this a few years ago.

1.50 Doncaster, A Momentofmadness 0.75pt EW 25/1 Sportpesa, 10Bet, 6x1/5
(also Hills, Paddy, 188: 22/1 6x1/5)

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at:

** 25/1 SP WINNER! A great way to start back after our summer break. Led from start to finish, memorable display...**