The 2020 Tapster Stakes takes place at Haydock Racecourse over 1 mile 3 furlongs and 175 yards on Friday 16 July, and this Listed race has attracted a competitive looking field of seven runners.
Entangling ran in a Group 3 race last time but, as he had also been beaten off marks in the 90s in two handicaps before that, he looks an unlikely winner taking on plenty of horses rated over 100 off level-weights.
Grace And Danger is also only rated in the 90s, but this filly does get a 5lb allowance from her male rivals. However, now filly has won the race in the last decade.
The other runner rated in the 90s is Alignak, but his trainer Sir Michael Stoute has trained three winners of the Tapster Stakes in the last 10 years. He has won his last two on the all-weather, but his last win came off a mark of just 89. Three starts ago, his last on turf, he was also comprehensively beaten by another of today’s rivals Trueshan, who gave him 7lb and a 10¾-length beating.
The Godolphin trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor both saddle a runner. The top-rated Ispolini represents Appleby but he is better at Meydan and over longer distances. Mountain Hunter represents Suroor but, despite him winning a Listed Race on Turf last season, he doesn’t have a convincing profile overall.
El Misk finished second in another Listed race last time but the winner of that race was rated much lower than many of his rivals here. El Misk has also done all his winning on the all-weather tracks. He could still make up into a decent horse on turf but still has something to prove.
That means our Tapster Stakes tip is Trueshan. Alan King’s 4-year-old blew away the cobwebs when fourth in a much better Listed race last time and he only needs to take a small step forward here to win this. When on song, he’s also a tenacious battler and that quality has allowed him to win four of his seven races, a much better strike rate than any of his rivals.
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