'He's due a bit of luck this season' - Portland Handicap insight and quotes
Saturday: 1.45 Doncaster
Portland Handicap | 5½f | 3yo+ | ITV/Sky
The Portland, as it's affectionately known, has become famous for being Britain's best five-and-a-half-furlong sprint handicap, so does it take a specialist at the distance to win it?
It's a tough question to answer just by looking at the last ten years, when five winners had won over 5f and 6f.
Hurricane Ivor comes into that category. He won over 6f at Chantilly last year and controversially dead-heated over Sandown's stiff 5f in July. He seems well suited by a stiff 5f as he was a close second at Ascot just a week after that and maybe this intermediate trip suits.
He was beaten just a length when third behind Copper Knight in a 5½f handicap at York last month on his first attempt at the distance and was running on well.
That race could prove the key here because Copper Knight, fourth Jawwaal, fifth Mondammej and tenth Whenthedealinsdone reoppose, and there isn't much between them.
Copper Knight was fading fast after setting a blistering pace and Hurricane Ivor and Mondammej were the finishers, and Hurricane Ivor is 3lb better off with that rival this time.
Oxted is the only three-year-old to have won the race in the last ten years and he is a Group 1 horse. That gives an idea of the task facing the youngsters Whenthedealinsdone and Digital.
Whenthedealinsdone represents Oxted's trainer Roger Teal and must be considered a Group performer of the future. He is already rated 99, but that means he is exposed for his age.
Digital is rated 9lb inferior and is up 4lb after a close second in a hot three-year-old handicap at York last time, but he still appears to be improving and looks the more likely of the two.
Race analysis by Graeme Rodway
Stone Of Destiny bids to become the first horse since Halmahera nearly 20 years ago to win the traditional St Leger day sprint lottery in successive years following his 16-1 surprise triumph a year ago.
Andrew Balding and Silvestre de Sousa are back for more with the six-year-old, who is 7lb higher in the handicap than when he put Danzeno away.
This specialist distance may well spark a revival in Stone Of Destiny, who has performed consistently in Group company without winning of late.
Alastair Donald, racing manager to owners King Power Racing, said: "Stone Of Destiny has been running well in Group races, so hopefully the drop back in class should suit him but the downside is he's not very big, so carrying 9st 8lb may be a challenge for him.
"We've had this race in mind ever since he won it last year as Doncaster is a fast track that plays to his strengths, but we just hope the rain stays away."
What they say
Tom Marquand, rider of Hurricane Ivor
He's due a bit of luck after some of his races this season. He ran a really solid race at York last time and this track will probably suit him even more. He's a nice sprinting type for these races.
John Quinn, trainer of Mr Wagyu
He had no chance from his middle draw at Ripon last time where you needed to be drawn next to a rail. He ran well all things considered and he's come out of it in good form. He's drawn high in 18, which may not be the best, but we'll see how it pans out.
Roger Varian, trainer of Premier Power
We expect a strongly run five and a half furlongs on a flat track to suit his style of running and I'm sure he has a big one in him.
Tim Palin, racing manager to Middleham Park Racing, owners of Copper Knight
Even though he's seven, he's arguably in the form of his life and we're hopeful he'll get the trip and run another big one. He's not drawn the best in 22, but hopefully he can overcome it.
Roger Teal, trainer of Whenthedealinsdone
He fluffed his lines at the start last time, which cost him any chance, but if he jumps on terms he would have a decent each-way chance. He looks to be drawn well in the middle and they've tended to race there this week.
Mick Appleby, trainer of Boundless Power
Boundless Power would like some rain and he is due a change of luck as he was unfortunate at Windsor last time.
Tracy Waggott, trainer of Intrinsic Bond and Kind Review
They both would like some more rain just to take the sting out of the ground and if they get it, they would have an outside chance.
Anthony Brittain, trainer of Mondammej
This trip is just about ideal for him, but it looks super competitive as these races are. He's drawn in the middle so hopefully will be able to follow the pace and hopefully he can be in the mix again.
Paul Midgley, trainer of Mid Winter and Saluti
Mid Winter is drawn best of the pair in 14 and she's been brilliant all year. She would be a live outsider as is Saluti although he's drawn bang on the far rail in stall one. Hopefully he can overcome that as he was a good winner last time.
Reporting by David Milnes
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