Tap Night weighted to go well in Kerry National
The big betting race of the day is the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel (4.40), and British raider Tap Night looks weighted to go well at a big price in a wide open contest.
Trained in Scotland by Lucinda Russell, the gelding developed into a useful novice chaser in 2013 when winning twice and finishing placed in some top grade affairs.
Those places included a 3 1/4 length second to Captain Conan in a Grade 1 contest at Aintree off an official rating of 145 and a very good second Radjahni Express at Ayr off 153.
It’s fair to say that Tap Night was very hit and miss when failing to get his head in front last season, but he did run a really solid race when third of 10 to Wishful Thinking in a class 1 contest over 2m 5f at Cheltenham when staying on well to be beaten 6 3/4 lengths off a mark of 145.
The eight-year-old is now able to race off a career-low mark of 138, and that gives Tap Night a big shout at the weights on the pick of his form.
Others to make my shortlist in a fiercely competitive affair are Burn And Turn and Usuel Smurfer.
The former is trained by Jessie Harrington and has been in terrific form this summer.
The eight-year-old finished a fine third to Une Artiste in a Grade 3 contest at Fairyhouse back in April before showing great battling qualities to beat She’s Got Grit at Punchestown.
Burn And Turn then put in a career-best effort over fences last time out when chasing home Road To Riches in the Galway Plate, and a 3lb rise for that run looks more than fair given his progressive profile.
Usuel Smurfer is trained by “Shark” Hanlon and ran a stormer last time out when staying on strongly to go down by just a head in a 20-runner contest at Galway over 2m 6f.
The six-year-old was gaining hand over first at the finish having come from well off the pace and the step up to 3m looks sure to suit.
The gelding also remains unexposed over fences after just six starts over the larger obstacles, and off a rating of 138 Usuel Smurfer looks weighted to run a huge race in the hands of Danny Mullins.