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Lingfield and Newbury previews: Shadow can put rivals in shade

| 01.04.2016

David Metcalf | April 1, 2016

Shadow Game can sprint to success at Lingfield

Trainer Mark Johnston has his team in good form and Shadow Game can take advantage of what looks a handy mark to provide him with another winner in the 6f handicap at Lingfield today (15.45).

The colt posted some solid efforts as a juvenile last season to make the frame, most notably when finishing third to Haalick over 6f at Haydock.

Shadow Game showed plenty of pace to lead until being collared close home and beaten just 1/2 a length.

The winner is a very useful sort who has won since and is now rated 101, and the form reads very well in the context of this class 5 contest.

Shadow Game went to on to open his account in good style at Ayr when scoring by 1 1/2 lengths off an official rating of 78, and although disappointing on handicap debut off a mark of 77 when last seen in action that may have been as a result of a hard campaign.

The three-year-old has since been dropped 4lb by the handicapper, and that makes the son of Shamardal look potentially thrown-in at the weights judged on his run behind Haalick.


Dark Side Dream weighted to deliver

In the 5f handicap (15.10), the well-treated Dark Side Dream is a fascinating contender under champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa.

The Chris Dwyer’s gelding has just one win to his name, and that came at Wolverhampton 12 months ago where he ran on strongly to win a class 4 contest by 1 1/2 lengths off a mark of 80.

Dark Side Dream backed that up with a solid 5 1/2 length fourth to the useful 112-rated Waady in a class 2 contest at Sandown off 86, but has failed to cut any ice in seven subsequent outings.

However, that has resulted in a drop in the weights and Dark Side Dream is now able to race in this weak looking class 4 affair off a rating of just 77.

That gives the four-year-old major claims from a handicapping perspective, especially if the fitting of the cheekpieces for the first time have the desired effect.

The booking of SDS also suggests that connections mean businesses, as as he has a strike rate of 23 per cent when teaming up with the yard in the past 12 months.


14.00: Tommy Secret
14.35: Jamhoori
15.10: Dark Side Dream (NB)
15.45: Shadow Game (NAP)
16.20: Donna Graciosa
16.55: Bouclier
17.30: Pursuitofthestars

Montbazon can cash-in on class drop at Newbury

Montbazon has become dangerously well-treated and can take advantage of a drop in class to score an overdue success in the 2m handicap hurdle on today’s card at Newbury (16.10).

The Alan King trained nine-year-old was a very useful sort in his prime but injuries have plagued him over the years.

Among Montbazon’s best runs in 2014 were a cracking third of 28 to Lac Fontana in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 140 and an excellent fourth of 13 to Ballyglasheen in the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock off 147.

The gelding is now able to race off a career-low rating of 138, and showed that he retained plenty of ability on his penultimate outing at Newbury when an eye-catching 10th of 22 to Agrapart in a valuable class 1 contest following 574 days on the sidelines.

Montbazon then got no further than the second when blundering an unseating his rider in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, but is usually a sound jumper and now drops down into class 2 company having competed at class 1 level since March 2013.


It gives Montbazon outstanding claims of getting back on the winning trail in what doesn’t look a strong contest for the grade.

Barenice weighted to go well

In the 3m handicap hurdle (15.00), Barenice looks weighted to go well at a big price.

The gelding finished second in an Irish point and put in a much improved effort when third to Sharpasaknife at Wetherby on his second start after joining trainer Alex Hales.

Barenice kept on nicely from off the pave to be beaten 13 lengths and the form of the race has worked out extremely well.

The winner has won again since and is now rated 131, the runner-up Road To Gold has won since to be rated 127, and the fifth and sixth have also gone on to taste success.

It makes Barenice look potentially nicely treated off an opening handicap mark of just 109, and although the five-year-old was not at his best last time out over 2m 1f at Chepstow he looks the type who will appreciate the step up in trip.


13.50: Hell’s Kitchen
14.25: The Ould Lad
15.00: Barenice (NB)
15.35: Vintage Vinnie
16.10: Montbazon (NAP)
16.45: Twirling Magnet
17.20: Florrie Boy


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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.