David Simcock knows a thing or two about training sprinters, having landed five Group 1 races with Dream Ahead, and his recent recruit Our Jonathan has some strong claims in the Ladbrokes Portland Handicap at 12/1 on Ladbrokes St Leger day at Doncaster.
The Newmarket handler’s yard have sprung to life in recent days with three winners from as many runners on the first day of the Leger meeting, with one of them coming at the Town Moor track.
Two years ago this week his new charge Our Jonathan was winning the Ayr Gold Cup over 6f for Kevin Ryan and at a decent price it’s worth backing Simcock to coax a return to form from the six-year-old.
In a competitive handicap such as this – contested over around 60 yards short of 6f – being potentially well-treated at the weights is vital and the son of Invincible Spirit is now 8lbs below his last winning mark.
The Portland’s intermediate trip should be right up the street of a gelding who has won three of his seven runs over 5f.
His last win came in a conditions race last May, but since then he has seldom faced the soft ground on which he scored at Ayr.
On one of the few occasions he did, he came third to Jim Goldie’s subsequent Group 3 winner Jack Dexter in a listed affair over 6f at Doncaster.
Meanwhile, Our Jonathan has two wins and two silver medals from his six runs on good-to-soft ground.
Furthermore, a stall eight berth should mean he gets a nice tow into the race as he’s drawn between Bogart and fellow last time out winner El Viento.
Our Jonathan’s first run for Simcock was a sixth-place behind stablemate Gramercy at Ffos Las in which he showed reasonable form before falling away at the furlong pole and it’s reasonable to expect him to come on for more time under his new trainer’s wing.
Silvestre de Sousa is in the plate for the Portland raid and there couldn’t be a better man for the job at present with the boy from Sao Paulo having steered home five winners from just 18 rides at Donny this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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