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Lancashire Telegraph racing column

Lancashire Telegraph: Lancashire Telegraph racing column Lancashire Telegraph racing column

Shangani can release Paul Nicholls’ stranglehold of the StanJames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Newbury.

Nicholls has won six of the last eight renewals of the Grade Three handicap and fires two shots across the bows this time with Rebel Rebellion and Ulck Du Lin.

Venetia Williams is also double-handed in the race, but Shangani is preferred over stablemate Elenika.

The ground at the Berkshire circuit appears to be getting better, but testing conditions still seem likely.

This is important to Shangani, who has proven winning form on heavy going.

The eight-year-old gelding has not yet won in a busy enough campaign this season, but he has been making stealthy development from one run to the next.

Fourth in a Listed race at the Cheltenham Festival last March, Shangani warmed up for this with a solid second behind Une Artiste at Kempton.

He was always up against it that day, giving plenty of weight to Nicky Henderson’s mare, but his jumping was sound from the head of affairs.

Roles are reversed at Newbury as Shangani will be in receipt of a stone from Rebel Rebellion, who carries top weight.

In what looks a pretty muddling encounter, he looks interesting over what now appears his ideal trip.

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The sparingly-campaigned Litigant gets the nod in the 32Red Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Trainer Seamus Durack already has an eye on the big Good Friday meeting for this six-year-old, who could not have won with much more authority at Wolverhampton in December on just his second all-weather start.

This is tougher, but he is clearly in his element over these marathon trips and rates as quite an exciting prospect at this important stage of his career.

Silken Express can reverse form with Even Stevens in the bookmakers.co.uk Handicap.

Robert Cowell’s mare finished half a length in arrears of Even Stevens in a similar five-furlong dash at Wolverhampton a fortnight ago, but she was a little unfortunate as she hit trouble in-running when the field straightened for home.

Silken Express meets that rival on slightly better terms on this occasion, and that could be enough to tilt the scales in her favour.

Court By Surprise would fully deserve his moment in the spotlight if he wins the William Hill Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster.

Emma Lavelle’s inmate has been threatening to claim a race of this calibre all year, having made the frame in staying handicaps at Wincanton, Chepstow and Sandown.

His third-placed finish in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton on his penultimate start was particularly impressive as he stumbled badly three fences from home before staying on again, beaten just over eight lengths.

Court By Surprise then reported for duty at Sandown, where he got to within three-quarters of a length of There’s No Panic.

The nine-year-old appeared to idle once in front that day before he again galloped strongly along the run-in to close the deficit on Nicholls’ runner.

Although it is a slight surprise to see him drop back in trip on Town Moor, the prospect of drying ground is most certainly not a negative.

Layla Joan looks the star turn in the William Hill - Bet On The Move Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The Irish raider has made breathless progress this season, having rattled off three victories over hurdles since she claimed a point-to-point in October.

Her six-length defeat of Fine Rightly at Ayr last time should not be downplayed, either, as that one has since hacked up at Wetherby.

Layla Joan now has no option but to run in Listed races and above, such is her elevated mark, but it is entirely feasible that this ascent to three miles could help take her game to the next level.

Secrete Stream has done enough this winter to anticipate a bold bid in the feature race of the day at Kelso.

Malcolm Jefferson’s five-year-old made quite a splash at Wetherby over Christmas when he breezed 11 lengths clear of subsequent winner Allied Answer.

He then had to make do with the silver medal behind Tiqris in a novices’ hurdle at the same track, but that has emerged a really good effort.

Tiqris was getting a lot of weight from Secrete Stream in that race and upheld the form by finishing second in Listed company.

Secrete Stream still needs to improve in the Grade Two £1.25 Million Scoop6 Premier Kelso Hurdle, but there is not a great deal separating the main players and he should be ideally suited by this extra quarter of a mile.

Mr Moonshine can add further credence to his Crabbie’s Grand National claims by taking the Best Odds Guaranteed At totepool.com Premier Chase.

Sue Smith’s on-song chaser has won his last two races, but connections are keen to get another race into him before the big one at Aintree in April.

This fits perfectly into his schedule.

SELECTIONS

DONCASTER: 1.45 Victor Hewgo, 2.20 Layla Joan, 2.55 Simply Ned, 3.30 Court By Surprise, 4.05 Drop Out Joe, 4.40 Tistory, 5.15 Bedale Lane.

KELSO: 1.55 Mohawk Ridge, 2.30 Jet Master, 3.05 Secrete Stream, 3.40 Rocking Blues, 4.15 Mr Moonshine, 4.50 Mister Jones, 5.25 Tartan Snow LINGFIELD: 1.10 Your Gifted, 1.40 Welsh Inlet, 2.15 Hinton Admiral, 2.50 Trust The Wind, 3.25 Innoko, 4.00 Silken Express, 4.35 Litigant, 5.10 Stasio.

NAVAN: 2.00 Halling’s Treasure, 2.35 Drumlee, 3.10 Afootinthedoor, 3.45 Touch The Eden, 4.20 Popcorn, 4.55 Good Egg, 5.30 Measureofmydreams.

NEWBURY: 1.30 Red Devil Lads, 2.05 Frizzo, 2.40 Pete The Feat, 3.15 Tiqris, 3.50 SHANGANI (NAP), 4.25 Headly’s Bridge, 5.00 Act Of Supremacy.

DOUBLE: Shangani and Court By Surprise.

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