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By Graham Potter | Saturday, March 11, 2023

Tappy’s Lad completed a $75 double for jockey Mark Du Plessis on the day (with Crimson Warning, being his earlier winner) when the forty-race veteran scored his second successive win when taking out a BM78 contest over 2406m on March 11.

The Kerry Taplin trained son of Proisir’s previous win had come two weeks earlier at Doomben over 2200m, also with Du Plessis in the saddle, in a race in which Du Plessis rode Tappy’s Lad cold, dropping out early, giving the leaders a six length start, before moving up to assert his authority over the concluding stages.

So, there was never any reason to change a winning strategy.

Last time out Tappy’s Lad started at $14. This time he was more respectably priced, but still relatively easy to back at $5.

Those who did so would undoubtedly have been aware of his racing pattern from his last start, so they would have been particularly perturbed when Du Plessis took Tappy’s Lad back on cue after the jump to race in eighth place some eight lengths off the leader as the field went out of the home straight on their first circuit.

Tappy’s Lad was second last, still well out of his ground as Hostage Of War ($8) took the field down the back straight, and there was little change all the way through the sweep to the home turn ... except that Du Plessis was now lining up Tappy’s Lad and preparing to ask him for his finishing effort.

First though, Du Plessis had to position his horse well enough to launch a late challenge. He did that by saving ground until the field straightened, where Tappy’s Lad cornered in fifth place ... and then by forcing a run on the outside of those horses in front of him as the field set sail for home.

There was a moment of doubt as to whether Tappy’s Lad would get that run, but Du Plessis knew two things about Tappy’s Lad from the previous win ... the Taplin trained runner would gamely go where he was asked to go (in his previous win he had to switch on a couple of occasions in the home straight) and that Tappy’s Lad had a whole lot of staying prowess to call upon.

Both of these attributes shone through here.

As Du Plessis angled Tappy’s Lad outwards, the five-year-old never hesitated in taking the run ...and, once in the clear, he resolutely set about running home as strongly as he could.

Initially, it was quite a grinding chase as Tappy’s Lad set about reeling in the $5.50 chance Scarlet Tufty, who had tried to steal the race halfway up the home straight, but, as in their previous win, Du Plessis had judged the race to perfection, to the extent that Tappy’s Lad ultimately pulled away to win by a comfortable 1.75 length margin.

This win took Tappy’s lad’s earnings part $250 000 in prize-money, courtesy of six wins and eleven placed from those forty starts.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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