Ron Stubbs enjoyed a good win in Saturday’s Highway Handicap at Kembla Grange, with the well-named Tap ‘N’ Run carrying the top weight (59kg) but still getting the job done with Tyler Schiller in the saddle.
The five-year-old raced midfield after beginning nicely from gate five, and he proved too good for his rivals in the 1400m Class Three Handicap, flashing late when beating the Danny Williams-trained Atmospheric (Tim Clark, $7) by 0.5 of a length, while in third and 1.8 lengths off the winner was the Sarah Murray-Leslie-trained Free State (Andrew Adkins, $41).
Racing on a good three appeared to suit the Albury galloper, and Stubbs admitted it was nice to be racing on top of the ground.
“He really needs a good track to see his best, but we were happy pre-race today that we got the conditions we wanted, and we got the result we wanted,” Stubbs said.
“It was the perfect race for him today and we’re glad to get the opportunity and glad to get the result.”
Schiller rode a winning double at Kembla Grange on Saturday, which adds to a sensational run of results for the Young product that has been in good form of late, and Stubbs praised the apprentice on yet another stellar ride.
“We really asked him to have him midfield and once again he’s ridden a perfect race and he’s in great form and an asset to have on board,” Stubbs said.
Schiller, who rode Tap ‘N’ Run first-up this preparation, believes the Reward For Effort gelding showed his true colours in Saturday’s $120,000 country-only event.
“He was due,” Schiller said after the run.
“At his first-up run, he dawdled out over 1000m, which is not his trip, and last start he wasn’t very lucky with a bit of a wide trip, and he stuck on well, but today he got a great run and I thought he was very strong late and it was very good,” Schiller said.
The pair didn’t have it all go their own way in the seven-furlong race and Schiller praised Tap ‘N’ Run on his strong finish, especially in the final 200 metres.
“I was always awkward; I was on the rail, then one off and then three deep,” Schiller said.
“When I followed Sarah Murray’s horse (Free State) into the race, I thought if I can just keep up with them, and then they took off and dropped him with the heavy weight and then I thought he picked up really strong late.”
It was a good win for Tap ‘N’ Run, which will now be set for the 2023 Country Championships.
After finishing eighth in the 2022 Country Championships final behind Another One, the in-form gelding should be thereabouts next year as the Southern Districts qualifier is set to be run and won on his home track of Albury in February.