Sue Smith has Haydock or Cheltenham in mind for Midnight Shadow

Tue 8 Jan 2019

Midnight Shadow will run in either the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock or the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham next.

Sue Smith’s charge was an impressive winner of the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, after which he was given quotes for the Stayers’ Hurdle in March.

“Midnight Shadow has been in good form since Cheltenham,” said Smith.

Our experts discuss Midnight Shadow's success at Cheltenham

“We were delighted with the performance on New Year’s Day and he saw the trip out very strongly. He is a horse that just improves the further he goes.

“I think his future at the moment is going to lie over two and a half or three miles. I think as he continues to step up in trip, the better he will become. He is a special horse.

“We have a couple of options and the Rendlesham (February 16) at Haydock or the Cleeve Hurdle (January 26) at Cheltenham are the main possibilities.”

If he heads south, Midnight Shadow is likely to face Tom George’s Black Op, a Grade One winner as a novice last season.

Having failed to win his first two races over fences he is set to revert to hurdling.

“Black Op has come out of the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham fine,” said George.

Black Op scored in a Grade One at Aintree on his last start over hurdles

“He ran well to finish third and was not beaten that far on New Year’s Day, despite making a number of jumping errors.

“I talked to his owner Roger Brookhouse, jockey Noel Fehily and Yogi Breisner (jumping guru) and Black Op will spend the remainder of the season over hurdles.

“I think the Cleeve will be his next race back at Cheltenham later this month. He has good form at the track and we are looking forward to the race.

“Hopefully, he can end the season well over hurdles and then he’ll go to Yogi in the summer for further schooling before a further decision about going back to chasing.”

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