Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 15:01 23/01/2015
Backing a horse for a competitive handicap that has failed to finish in the first three in seven attempts during the last year and beaten a total of 146 lengths in it's two most recent outings would appear the quickest way to the poor house but there are several reasons for thinking that the Lucinda Russell-trained Tap Night could prove the value bet in tomorrow's Freebet.com Trophy Chase at Cheltenham which carries a £50k bonus for any horse who wins the 2m 5f contest at 2.25pm and goes on to triumph in any race at the Festival in March.
The mount of Tom O'Brien looked to have the world at his feet after finishing second to Captain Conan in a Grade 1 novice chase at Aintree back in April 2013, a run that was followed with another creditable effort at Ayr when finding only the talented Rajdhani Express too good - running off a mark of 153. Several other decent efforts followed towards the end of that year and the beginning of 2014 after which there has been a marked deterioration in the fortunes of the son of Pleasant Tap.
The consequences of that downward turn has been a reduction in the horse's rating from that high of 153 to a present mark of 130, a situation put in perspection when looking at the result of tomorrow's race 12 months ago. Finishing a respectable third to a couple of leading chasers in Wishful Thinking and Double Ross Tap Night was twelve lengths in front of the fourth horse home Sew On Target who meets the selection on a massive 24lb worse terms on this occasion yet is likely to go off favourite in the absence of Easter Day.
A reproduction of that form entitles Tap Night ( only just turned eight so plenty of time for a revival of fortunes ) to head the market yet the horse is available at a huge 25-1 with Bet365. A return to fences after three runs over hurdles may spark the gelding into putting his best foot forward and if that proves to be the case those odds look more than generous. On his best form Tap Night could easily win this with his head in his chest but equally a reproduction of recent performances would probably result in the horse finishing well down the field and for that reason it could pay to have another on our side in the shape of the novice Little Jon.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained seven-year-old has had just the four starts over fences and has failed to complete the course in two, but the mount of Sam Twiston-Davies has not enjoyed the best of luck and may have been let in lightly by the handicapper off a mark of 140 based on a close third on the course last November behind two decent novices in Dunraven Storm and Vibrato Valtat.
1 Point Each-Way Tap Night - 25-1 Bet365
1 Point Win Little Jon - 10-1 Bet365