William Hill Portland Handicap – Key Trends & Free Big Race Tips

The Weekend Bulletin (Sat 14th Sept)

Last time around we honed in on Nick Hardman’s key trends for the Old Borough Cup up at Haydock and these helped our Big Race Guru nail the 1-2 with Time To Study (adv ew 10/1) getting the better of Alright Sunshine with the pair clear by 4 lengths!

Of course they can’t all work out as sweetly but Nick has been delivering steady profits for 4+ years and you can find out more about his specialist approach here https://bigracetips.co.uk/

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We are currently in the midst of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster and the first race on the Classic race day is a very tricky looking sprint handicap which is the kind of race that Nick thrives on so let’s see what the key trends are:-

William Hill Portland Handicap (5 ½ f, Class 2) Doncaster 1.50pm Sat 14th Sept

The helter-skelter race of the St Leger meeting and this one attracts a bumper field of around 20 runners each year. No surprise then that only 6 of the 22 winners since 1997 returned a single figure price. 

Last year A Momentofmadness obliged at 25/1 and there have been a further 4 past winners that obliged at 20/1 so clearly the race can be very rewarding if you land the winner. 

Charlie Hills trained A Momentofmadness to win this last year (currently down to run) and he also trained the 2013 winner, Angels Will Fall who returned an SP of 16/1 whilst Kevin Ryan (Bielsa) won three on the bounce from 2002 to 2004 but remarkably he did so with the same horse, Halmahera.

This is a high-end heritage handicap so no surprise to see that the last 16 winners were all rated 92+. Steps won this off 108 in 2015, but that was a trends buster. The official ratings band of 95 to 101 has given us 10 of the last 12 winners and I am inclined to go with that again this time around. 

I am not sure about the draw at Doncaster, but previous renewals suggest a double-digit stall is a good thing. 11 of the last 12 winners were drawn 10 or higher and that may be significant as those renewals covered a wide range of going conditions from good to firm, to, good to soft. I will stick with those drawn in 10 or higher from a trends point of view. 

In addition, a run within 28 days is a positive as all bar 4 of the last 22 winners tick that box and from an age perspective it is the 4yo and 5yo runners that have dominated with 11 of the last 12 winners falling into that age bracket. 

There have been 6 winning favourites since 1997, which is not bad for the favourite backers. However, the other 16 winners all came from outside the top 4 in the betting and that is just the type of horse we target week in week out in this type of race. 

At least 4 runs in the current season is another decent trend and only 3 winners since 1997 had run fewer times than that, so stick with those that have had a decent campaign. 

This is an intermediate distance (5 ½f) and usually run at a furious gallop so no surprise to see those with a win at 6f or further produce the majority of winners since 1997. In fact, 17 of the 22 winners in that time had won over 6f or further and that looks a good pointer to the likelier types.  

Between 1 and 5 handicap wins looks about right (18/22) and look for the class angle as 16 previous winners had tasted success at Class 1 or 2 level previously. 

Interestingly, horses dropping down from Class 1 races are 1-49 and should be avoided on that score, with 19 previous winners having contested a Class 2 or 3 contests last time. 

Those trends leave us looking for the horses that fit the following profile:

  • Rated 95 to 101
  • Trained by David Marnane or Charlie Hills
  • Drawn in stall 10 or higher
  • A run in the last 28 days
  • Aged 4yo or 5yo
  • Outside the top 4 in the betting
  • At least 4 runs in the current season
  • A win at 6f or 7f
  • Ran in a class 2 or 3 handicap last time out
  • 1 to 5 handicap wins
  • Previous class 1 or 2 winner

You can find out which of the entries in the Portland Nick settles on as his final selection(s) below:-

Sat 14th Sept

Doncaster 1.50pm
This race has been given the full trends treatment and we have two qualifiers in Embour and Green Power. You can make a case for the majority of runners one at a big price that could well outrun their odds is Orvar. He will get a good pace to aim at from his high draw and is 2-4 at the course. Show Stealer is closely matched with Embour and Green Power on Goodwood running and is another that could benefit from the pace around him from his high draw. Cam Noble claims 3lb which puts him just 2lb above his last winning mark.
Embour @20/1 e/w (1/5 odds, 5 places)
Orvar @25/1 e/w (1/5 odds, 5 places)
Show Stealer @33/1 e/w (1/5 odds, 5 places)
Green Power @22/1 e/w (1/5 odds, 5 places)

Together We Can Win in 2019

Darren & Steve

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