The champion jockey travels north specifically to ride Tap Night, who is owned by JP McManus. A Grade 2 winner over hurdles where he had the very useful Captain Conan behind, he made a winning start over fences here last month but was a very disappointing last of four in a much better race at Kelso. He was nowhere near his best that day but his penalty means he has to concede 7lb to THE TRACEY SHUFFLE and that may prove beyond him. A dual bumper winner and successful over hurdles here a year ago, he fell at the second on his chasing debut at Perth in September and David Pipe has sent him on a very long journey back to Scotland in the hope of recouping losses. This is by no means a two-horse race, however, as the promising Aibrean, a winning point-to-pointer and three times successful over timber, is bred to be a chaser and makes his debut over the bigger obstacles.
Tap Night (USA) 4-7fav (11-4) Tracked leader until 2nd, jumped left next, not fluent and outpaced 4 out, closed 2 out, no impression last, last of 4, 8l behind Viva Colonia (11-4) at Musselburgh 2m 4f nov chs (3) gs.
Canadian Venture (IRE) 66-1 (11-5) Mid-division, no impression from 3 out, 10th of 16, well behind King Of Firth (11-12) at Fairyhouse 2m mdn hdl hvy in Jan.
Gris Lord (IRE) 9-4 (11-4) Mid div, prog to 4th 1/2way, 3l 3rd 6out, gd jmp 4out, 4th 3out, went 3rd 2out, ko to line, 3rd of 10, 8l behind Mtada Supreme (11-4) at Tinahely 3m ire ptp gs in Jan.
My Mate Vic (IRE) 66-1 (11-7) Held up in rear, blundered badly 3rd, pushed along next, soon detached, pulled up before 10th, in a race won by Palypso De Creek (11-3) at Wetherby 3m 1f hts chs (6) sft, 7 ran.
Runswick Relax 7-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, ridden to chase leaders after 3 out, kept on same pace, never on terms, 5th of 12, 35l behind Rowan Road (10-1) at Catterick 3m 1f hcp hdl 0-105 (4) hvy in Dec.
The Tracey Shuffle 6-4fav (11-2) Led until stumbled and fell 2nd, in a race won by Aneyeforaneye (11-2) at Perth 2m 4f nov chs (4) gd in Sep, 8 ran.
Aibrean (IRE) 25-1 (10-6) Behind, headway into mid-division 3 out, never near leaders, 8th of 20, 23l behind Dynaste (10-13) at Haydock 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gs in Nov '11.
Lady Fame (IRE) 7-1 (11-5) Tracked leader, weakened after 4 out, tailed off, 5th of 13, 48l behind Solis (11-5) at Cartmel 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gs in Jul.