Richard Hannon Happy To Target Portland

The St. Leger is the final classic of the turf season in the UK & Ireland. It looks a competitive race albeit with just the nine runners.

We love the big field handicaps and thankfully the Portland Heritage handicap is just the job with 22 runners declared. A cracking sprint over the intermediate trip of 5.5 furlongs.

Richard Hannon runs two here with preference for the 5yo mare Happy Romance. This daughter of Dandy Man is a pattern class sprinter dropping down into handicap company. The intermediate trip will be no problem as she has shown good winning form over both 5- & 6-furlongs trips. She is proven on good to soft ground so hopefully she can handle the soft ground tomorrow.

Alec Voikhansky claims off 5lbs and is an experienced claimer with 30 wins already this season. His claim helps Happy Romance get in here off a reduced mark of 97 carrying 9-3. Happy Romance is lightly raced this season following a winter campaign in Meydan. She won a listed race comfortably at Bath on good to soft ground in April so has the form to run a big race.

Hurricane Ivor is talented but difficult to predict. He won on heavy ground on his second start for Jessie Harrington following a switch over to Ireland from William Haggas. That win came off a rating of 96 and he went very close to winning earlier this season over course and distance when beaten half a length by Tawaazon, rated 101 and carrying 10-1.

He is a classy sprinter and looks well handicapped down to a mark of 92 and carrying 8-12. Hurricane Ivor was withdrawn due to the ground at the Curragh last Sunday when due to run in the “Bold Lad” handicap. This race looks easier and we know he likes Doncaster as he won this race two seasons ago when rated 102.

Last years first past the post Chipstead looks laid out for the race and was unfortunate last year to be demoted to second place. It will be tougher this time round off a higher mark but he does like it at Doncaster. Call Me Ginger was the benefeciary of the stewards last year and he arrives in cracking form and likes soft ground.

Doncaster 2:25

0.5 point each way Happy Romance 14/1 Paddy Power & Betfair SB, 6 places.

0.5 point each way Hurricane Ivor 18/1 Paddy Power, Betfair SB, Bet365 & Betfred, all 6 places.

The Portland Handicap is a flat handicap horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Doncaster over a distance of 5 furlongs and 143 yards (1,137 metres), and it is scheduled to take place each year in September.

The event was established in 1855, and for a period it was known as the Portland Plate. The original course started opposite a coaching inn called Red House, and it featured a left-handed bend at about halfway. The race was later transferred to a straight course.

The Portland Handicap is held during Doncaster's four-day St. Leger Festival, and it is currently staged on Saturday, the same day as the St Leger Stakes.

Winners over past 10 years

Year Winner Age Weight Jockey Trainer SP Time
2022 Call Me Ginger[b] 6 8-07 Amie Waugh Jim Goldie 20/1 1:08.27
2021 Hurricane Ivor 4 9-10 Tom Marquand William Haggas 11/2 F 1:08.56
2020 Stone of Destiny 5 9-00 Silvestre de Sousa Andrew Balding 16/1 1:06.67
2019 Oxted 3 9-04 Cieren Fallon Roger Teal 14/1 1:06.31
2018 A Momentofmadness 5 9-04 William Buick Charles Hills 25/1 1:06.04
2017 Spring Loaded 5 8-09 Joey Haynes Paul D'Arcy 12/1 1:06.81
2016 Captain Colby 4 9-00 William Buick Ed Walker 6/1 1:06.91
2015 Steps 7 9-07 Louis Steward Roger Varian 12/1 1:08.79
2014 Muthmir 4 9-07 Paul Hanagan William Haggas 3/1 F 1:05.38
2013 Angels Will Fall 4 9-02 Robert Winston Charlie Hills 16/1 1:08.14


Best of Luck, Nicky