Horses To Follow » Tap Night

Tap Night

Tap Night ran a nice race to finish third behind Wishfull Thinking and Double Ross in the two-mile-five-furlong handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday. Settled out the back in the early stages by AP McCoy, JP McManus’ horse got right up in behind the leaders on the run down the hill and saved ground by going around the inside around the home turn. He looked a real threat to the two leaders on the run to the second last, but he couldn’t bridge the gap on the run to the last, and the pair of them got away from him on the run-in, finishing out their races much the stronger. Even so, Tap Night kept on well up the hill and, while he was well beaten by the two leaders, he pulled 12 lengths clear of the fourth-placed horse, Sew On Target.

This was much more like it from Tap Night. An exciting novice chaser last spring and considered good enough to take his chance in the Arkle, he ran well at Aintree in April, but it was disappointing that he was well beaten by Rajdhani Express, getting 7lb, at Ayr on his final run of the season. He shaped as though he needed the run on his debut this term at Carlisle, but he ran disappointingly in both the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the December Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Saturday’s run was a real sign that he is on the way back.

The handicapper raised him 3lb for that run, but that still leaves him on a mark of 145, 8lb lower than he was after Aintree last season. He is only seven, he is still a young horse, and two and a half miles looks to be his optimum trip. He handles Cheltenham well, and the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase could be the race for him at the Festival.

25th January 2014