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By Graham Potter | Saturday, February 25, 2023

If you missed jockey Mark Du Plessis on the first race winner at Doomben on February 25, you would have been even more sorry you if you missed him on the second race winner as his mount, Tappy’s Lad went off at a starting price of $14.

The race was a BM78 Handicap over 2200m which the Kerry Taplin trained son of Proisir arrived at on the back of two fringe of the placings finishes, in which he never got close enough to threaten the result.

Du Plessis had ridden Tappy’e Lad in his last start fifth, 4.30 lengths behind the winner Head Of State in a race where Tappy’s Lad had also been beaten by Two Smokin Barrels (who finished second), Scarlett Of War (third) and Scarlet Tufty (fourth).

The latter three runners were all lining up against Tappy’s Lad again here, but, beyond that, two other runners ... Namakwa ($3.80) and Coup De Tonnerre ($3.90) ... were the main fancies, all of which combined to leave Tappy’s Lad out in the cold on the betting boards, his $14 quote being the longest price of any of the seven runners in the race.

Du Plessis immediately switched Tappy’s Lad in across the back of the field to find the inside rail, after jumping from the widest gate.

Once there, saving ground all of the way, Tappy’s Lad loped along at a comfortable gallop at the rear of the field, some six lengths off the lead.

Tappy’s Lad was still last, still those six lengths back, with 600m left to run, but du Plessis was now starting to urge his mount forward.

Tappy’s Lad had to shift one wide to slip past the badly weakening Coup De Tonnerre and then he cut back towards the inside as his forward move took him past another two runners who were travelling wider.

Tappy’s Lad was up into fourth place now ... then third ... then second ... and travelling well, but galloping room was becoming tight along the inside rail and, approaching the 200m mark, Du Plessis had to be at his best to navigate a path for Tappy’s Lad around the heels of Hostage Of War ($6.50) and through the gap between Hostage Of War and Scarlet Tufty ($7) without losing momentum.

Du Plessis did just that and got the split, hit the lead with 150m left to run ... and kicked on gamely to see off the faster finishing Two Smokin Barrels (one of the horses who raced wide on the turn) by a comfortable enough 0.72 length margin.

Helped by a perfectly judged ride, Tapply’s Lad is now a five-time winner, with eight minor placings, from thirty-nine start with $179 186 banked in prize-money.

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Photos: Darren Winningham
Photos: Darren Winningham
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