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Friday, 11 September 2015

14:35, Doncaster, Saturday September 12

Another Saturday, another maximum field sprint handicap to mull over, this week the Ladbrokes Portland, run over 5 furlongs and 140 yards on the flat, wide expanses of Town Moor, Doncaster. Two favourites have won the Portland in the last ten years, but the other eight winners in that period were priced at 20/1 (three times), 16/1, 14/1 (twice) and 11/1 (twice), so it’s a race to which we look forward.

Right at the foot of the weights, Indescribable (33/1) has finished stone cold last on his two most recent starts, but has now run poorly on all six starts with cut in the ground and, back on a sound surface, doesn’t look impossibly handicapped. On his last start in a handicap on fast ground, he stayed on well to finish eighth of twenty-seven, beaten 4 lengths, in the Sprint Stakes, over 6 furlongs, at Goodwood and is 3lb lower in the weights here. He’s done all his winning over 5 furlongs and has the services of Silvestre De Sousa, who has a 24% strike rate for the yard this season.

Gran Canaria Queen (25/1) is another who’s done all her winning on good, or faster, going so, having run respectably on soft ground, off a 1lb higher mark, at Ripon four weeks ago, she’s another who could stage a revival back on a sound surface. All her recent wins have come over 6 furlongs, but she’s won and been placed over 5 furlongs in the past, so this intermediate distance should suit her well enough.

Pipers Note (20/1) has already won three times this season, improving 9lb in the process and, while his recent efforts in handicaps suggest he might just be in the grip of the handicapper, his form figures over 5 furlongs read 010115. In any case, he’s still only 4lb higher in the weights than when winning over 6 furlongs at Ripon in April, so with underfoot conditions to suit it’s not difficult to imagine him being in the shake-up.

Selections: Indescribable (33/1), Grand Canaria Queen (25/1), Pipers Note (20/1)

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