After Thursday evening’s dreadful news, racing was cancelled on Friday and Saturday. The show must go on though as they say, with the Queen’s favourite sport never looking likely to remain on Britain’s sidelines for too long.
Doncaster therefore has put on a nine-race Sunday card which includes this rescheduled Portland Handicap.
The 5½-furlong sprint race can be won from across the track, though there has been some evidence that the near side (high numbers) may hold just a slight advantage. That’s all been taken into account, with these six runners making up our shortlist:
Though drawn on the far side, Burning Cash really caught the eye.
Trained by Paul Midgely in North Yorkshire, the four-year-old gelding is at the right age and is still likely to be improving. His jockey Ryan Sexton also takes off a very handy 5lbs.
His better-than-expected odds may have been formulated based on his finishing seventh of 13 last time, while running last of four before that. Those figures don’t tell the true story however.
In the Listed Beverley Bullet last time he had to race wide, always a big disadvantage there, and in truth he ran as well as ever. He has won over five furlongs at Doncaster and appears to now be a 100+ horse, so running here off 96 makes him look well in.
Racing right near the stands rail will be Roger Varian’s Newmarket four-year-old Dusky Lord, and he is definitely over-priced.
Tactics may be important, as he has so often been steadied at the start and held up, though they may want to allow him to jump out and take advantage of what might be an advantageous draw.
He had little luck in running at Goodwood over six furlongs last time in a five-runner race yet ran perfectly well, before that he was a close second there to Lord Riddiford over five and began this season by winning at Newmarket.
He’s going the right way, seems versatile, has the speed, can stay the 5½ furlongs, is well drawn and frankly has been rather overlooked.
This 31-race veteran has been in great form this season. Tracy Waggott’s five-year-old gelding has already taken in ten races in 2022, winning two in a row in July and August at Thirsk and Ripon.
At first glance you’d say that form isn’t good enough to win this, especially as he’s now up to a career-high mark of 95, but he cannot be taken lightly and can go well at a nice price.
As mentioned, Lord Riddiford has winning form with a horse we really like here in Dusky Lord. The excellent John Quinn takes care of this popular seven-year-old grey and strictly on the numbers he has an outstanding chance.
What we have to keep in mind here however are a couple of slightly negative facts; one is that his strike-rate on the all-weather is much better than on turf, while the last three of his five turf wins have all been at Goodwood which is very different to here.
Those facts really dampen confidence when it comes to a horse who has raced 46 times and is on his highest ever turf handicap mark, though he had to make the list as the talent is definitely there.
Although seven years old now and with 39 races under his belt, Makanah is a bit of a ‘now’ horse having gone 42232 in valuable races this term before finishing 7th in the Stewards’ Cup and being unlucky in running at York last time.
He is expected to go well and is a single-figure price, but he’ll need to be at his very best we reckon.
Roger Teal’s four-year-old is an obvious favourite for this race.
He’s four years old and has his best days to come, he was a close fifth in the race last year as a 3yo, he won incredibly easily at Ascot last time out and he has the assistance of Danny Tudhope who is on board.
There is lots to like, but he won so cosily last time because of his reduced handicap mark which has now been amended and he’ll need to be on tip-top form.
Lord Riddiford may not be at his favourite track but his trainer is having a great time and if he puts his best foot forward, he has a solid each-way chance.
Yorkshire-trained Burning Cash is solid, especially if the far side do OK, but the one we like best is DUSKY LORD. Roger Varian’s runner has plenty in his favour and looks as though he’ll reach a new career high this weekend.