Midnight Shadow on course to claim rare Cheltenham double

Midnight Shadow is among a field of 15 as he attempts to join an elite list by winning the Racing Post Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Sue Smith’s eight-year-old won the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November and will join Pegwell Bay, Senor El Betrutti and Exotic Dancer as winners of both races in the same season. Smith also runs Joke Dancer.

Jeremy Scott chose not to declare Dashel Drasher, meaning the weights are now headed by the Venetia Williams-trained Cepage.

Williams, who won the Ladbrokes Trophy with Cloudy Glen, is also represented by Farinet, last seen winning at Sandown in March on just his second outing for the yard.

Several of those who finished behind Midnight Shadow last month will take him on again.

Among them are Paul Nicholls’ Lalor, Evan Williams’ Coole Cody, who still held every chance when coming down two out, the Philip Hobbs pair of Dostal Phil and Zanza and Alan King’s Deyrann Du Carjac.

Fusil Raffles, Silver Hallmark, Francky Du Berlais, Siruh Du Lac, Beakstown and Topofthecotswolds complete the field.

King’s Sceau Royal is one of seven for the Unibet International Hurdle.

Sceau Royal (left) is back out again this weekend
Sceau Royal (left) is back out again this weekend (David Davies/PA)

It has been a busy first half of the season for the nine-year-old, who will be having his fourth outing. He was last seen finishing a close third in the Fighting Fifth behind the dead-heating Not So Sleepy and Epatante.

Tom Symonds’ Song For Someone will defend the title he won 12 months ago and arrives on the back of a solid reappearance at Ascot when he was second to Buzz.

Henry de Bromhead saddles Ballyadam, who was second to Appreciate It in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March and returns to the smaller obstacles after two unsuccessful efforts over fences.

A second Irish-trained runner is Paul Hennessy’s mare Heaven Help Us, a nine-length winner of the Coral Cup last season.

Heaven Help Us was a startling winner of the Coral Cup
Heaven Help Us was a startling winner of the Coral Cup (Tim Goode/PA)

Wilde About Oscar, Guard Your Dreams and Hunters Call also take part.

Dan Skelton’s My Drogo faces three in the bearrene.com Novices’ Chase, with Bob Olinger an absentee as expected.

My Drogo was a faller at the second-last in an eventful race on his chasing debut when he only other rival also made a terrible error at the same fence, only for Rachael Blackmore to maintain her partnership with Gin On Lime before going on to win.

Captain Cuckoo, Jay Bee Why and Torn And Frayed take him on.

Charles Byrnes’ Blazing Khal stars in six for the Albert Barltett Novices’ Hurdle, with Paul Webber’s Indefatigable reverting to handicap company later on the card.

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