Listed winners among classy field for Betway Casino Handicap at Lingfield Park

Corinthia Knight and Gracious John, both successful at Listed level on the All-Weather, feature in an excellent 10-strong field for the £19,000 Betway Casino Handicap (3.45pm), highlight of Lingfield Park's six-race card on Saturday, March 23.

 Six of the runners in the five-furlong Polytrack contest have a BHA rating of 102 or higher, including Corinthia Knight (9st 13lb, Archie Watson/Thomas Greatrex (5), drawn 10), winner of the six-furlong £150,000 32Red Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championship on Good Friday last year.

The four-year-old son of Society Rock, who captured the Listed Prix Montenica over an extended six furlongs at Chantilly, France, in March, 2018, is seeking a fourth victory at Lingfield Park and returns to the Surrey course after finishing eighth in a six-furlong Tapeta handicap at Wolverhampton on March 9.

Gracious John (9st 8lb, David Evans/John Egan, drawn three), runner-up in the 2017 six-furlong £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship, also boasts a fine record at Lingfield Park with four wins headed by a short-head success in the five-furlong Listed Betway Hever Sprint in February, 2018.

Both Corinthia Knight and Gracious John re-oppose this season's Betway Hever Sprint runner-up Royal Birth (9st 11lb, Stuart Williams/Sean Levey, drawn nine), who beat both rivals when scoring in a five-furlong handicap at Lingfield Park on March 2. Corinthia Knight was second by a neck, with Gracious John another half-length back in third.

Doctor Sardonicus (10st 1lb, Tom Dascombe/Richard Kingscote, drawn eight) heads the weights and the 106-rated sprinter lines up on the back of two contrasting efforts in five-furlong handicaps on Tapeta at Wolverhampton.

The eight-year-old son of Medicean made all for a decisive victory on December 21, but failed to beat a rival home after breaking slowly on February 21.

Cheshire-based Dascombe commented: "Doctor Sardonicus ran a career-best two starts ago and then was disappointing on his latest appearance.

"He half-missed the break last time and we had to use a bit of energy to get him up there as he is a front-runner. He is a happy horse in front and an out-and-out five-furlong horse.

"I am not really sure if Lingfield is his track - he ran moderately there a couple of years ago for David Simcock, but I don't know the reasons for that.

"He seems fit, healthy and happy, and we are expecting him to run well."

Dascombe is also looking forward to seeing star sprinter Kachy return to Lingfield Park for the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship on Good Friday, April 19.

The David Lowe-owned six-year-old was runner-up in the six-furlong highlight on Finals Day last year and has been in scintillating form this season, winning both his starts including a stunning win in the Listed Betway Cleves Stakes over the course and distance at Lingfield Park on February 2.

The trainer added: "All is well with Kachy and he is in good shape. He will head straight to Good Friday as there is nothing else for him now.

"He has run twice and broke two track records, so you would have to say that he seems to be running faster than ever.

"We will discuss plans for the turf, but I would imagine that he will go back to Haydock for the Temple Stakes again after Good Friday."

Other leading contenders for the Betway Casino Handicap include G1 Commonwealth Cup fourth Stone Of Destiny (9st 13lb, Andrew Balding/James Doyle, drawn two) and George Bowen (9st 12lb, Richard Fahey/Sebastian Woods (5), drawn seven), who was fifth in the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood in August.

John Ryan has two runners, with Merhoob (9st 11lb, Adam Kirby, drawn four), an impressive handicap winner at Wolverhampton on February 25, and three-year-old Shining Armor (8st 3lb, Darragh Keenan (5), drawn one) lining up for the Newmarket handler.

Gold Filigree (9st 1lb, Richard Hughes/Shane Kelly, drawn five) and Verne Castle (9st, Michael Wigham/Franny Norton, drawn six) complete the field.

Dascombe, who has sent out two winners from four runners at Lingfield Park so far this year, and Kingscote team up with two further contenders at the course on Saturday including Sha La La La Lee (9st 1lb), who runs in the £11,500 Sun Racing Handicap (3.10pm) over a mile.

Both of Sha La La La Lee's victories have come on the All-Weather and the four-year-old returns to Lingfield Park having gained an all-the-way handicap success over the same course and distance under Kingscote on March 2, which was also a landmark 1,000th win for the jockey.

Dascombe commented: "We were slightly disappointed with Sha La La La Lee on his first run after a break at Wolverhampton (2nd on February 6) but I think we were beaten by a good horse in Documenting.

"He improved on that run when winning over this course and distance last time and I think he is a horse who has slightly under-achieved so far. He has been gelded and I think there is more to come from him."

Eight rivals on Saturday include Executive Force (9st 7lb, Michael Wigham/Franny Norton), who is looking to join Matterhorn at the head of the Winning Most Horse standings for this season's All-Weather Championships following five wins.

Metatron stormed to a comprehensive seven-length victory on his debut for Dascombe in an extended mile at Wolverhampton in October before finishing third over the same course and distance the following month.

The three-year-old runs in the mile Ladbrokes Novice Race (2.35pm), with a field of eight three-year-olds also featuring Fields Of Athenry (James Tate/PJ McDonald) who, like Metatron, has finished first and third at Wolverhampton on his two outings.

Dascombe said: "Metatron is a lightly-raced horse, who needs to get out and have a run.

"He has to take on another previous winner in Fields Of Athenry, who has basically the same profile as Metatron, and we will have to see who is better on the day."