The 2012 Ladbrokes Portland Handicap is always an entertaining affair; a cavalry charge over 5f 140y, which takes places shortly before the main event on St Leger day, picking the winner of the Portland can often prove tricky. We’ve done the hard work for you and we’ve come up with a 16/1 (17.00) shot (pictured) courtesy of Coral.
Analysis of recent winners throws up a number of trends, which we can use to build up a profile of the likely winner of the 2012 renewal. Here are the key Portland Handicap trends:
- 9 of the last 12 winners of the Portland Handicap were aged 5 or older
Older horses have a great recent record in the Portland Handicap. The 1990s were dominated by 3 and 4 year olds, but since 2001, just two horses younger than 5 have tasted victory. 5 year olds have the best record by age, but when grouping together all horses aged 7 or older, the record is pretty similar.
- All of the last 12 Portland Handicap winners were officially rated 91 to 101
- 10 of the last 12 winners carried between 8st 12lbs and 9st 6lbs
As with any handicap race, we should be looking for a horse that is nicely weighted.
- 11 of the last 12 winners had won a race with a minimum of 14 runners
- 10 of the last 12 Portland Handicap winners had won a race worth at least £13,000
These trends suggest that the winner of the 2012 Portland Handicap must have experienced a big field and performed well (the race is traditionally a large field affair, so past experience of this is crucial) while a certain amount of ability is required, so we should be looking for those horses with success in more valuable races.
- All of the last 12 winners had raced in the previous 35 days
- All of the last 12 winners had already raced at least four times that year
These trends suggest that a potential Portland Handicap winner must arrive at Doncaster race sharp. We should avoid those horses that haven’t seen much action this season, or that are returning from a lengthy layoff.
Applying all of the above trends to the 2012 Portland Handicap field leaves us with just three selections – Tax Free, Kaldoun Kingdom and Captain Dunne.
The former has been in amazing form of late, at the grand old age of ten, but I wonder if Tax Free has now peaked having finished second in the Great St Wilfred, followed by success in a valuable race at York. This will be the horse’s tenth race since May, which might be a little too much for the veteran. I love the horse, but I would prefer a bigger price than the current best of 16/1 (17.00) on off with the race sponsors Ladbrokes.
Captain Dunne is an interesting one, having now slipped to 6lbs lower than his last winning mark, when claiming the spoils in the 2011 Investec Dash. However, the seven year old appears out of sorts – his four runs in 2012 have seen him finish 6/7, 5/7, 9/20 and 14/19 – the latter being the York race that Tax Free took down. 25/1 (26.00, Coral) makes some appeal, but I’d prefer something a little bigger.
The one that really takes my eye however, is Richard Fahey’s Kaldoun Kingdom. He may not have tasted victory since March 2010, but he looks set for a big race in the 2012 Portland Handicap. 6lbs lower than his last winning mark – a victory that came at this course – the selection has won several big field handicaps in his career, including the 2009 Coral Sprint Trophy off the same mark. He has a great record at the course, with figures of 2150 (all four races had at least 17 runners) and at a best price of 16/1 (17.00) with Coral, I’ll be getting involved.
The 2012 Portland Handicap
Saturday 15th September, 15:00
Kaldoun Kingdom @ 16/1 (17.00) with Coral
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