18:15 Newcastle

Asdaa has steadily improved since switching to the All-Weather and finally got his head in front at the fourth time of asking at Chelmsford earlier in the month, although has been raised 5lbs for his efforts and had earlier been beaten by Northernpowerhouse over course and distance in December. The latter also carries 5lbs more today and I expect the two to be closely matched again.

Fortamour is another with winning form at the course and was less then a length behind the aforementioned Asdaa in that December race, however has actually been dropped 1lbs for that effort so cannot be dismissed especially as he races for a stable who tend to do well with their runners at the course.

That said, preference is for Portledge who has an excellent record over course and distance, winning five and placing twice from nine runs. He is partnered with Hollie Doyle who has won five from eighteen in the last twelve months at the course and although hasn’t been seen since July he has won and placed when returning from similar breaks. A drop back down in class following an excellent third in a Class 3 race when last seen, he should be capable of returning with a victory here today.


written by Dean Kilbryde