Tap Night: set to bypass the Scilly Isles in favour of Musselburgh optionsPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Russell prefers local options for Tap Night
LUCINDA RUSSELL is planning to keep Tap Night closer to home for Musselburgh's festival trials meeting on Sunday, rather than head down to Sandown for the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown the day before.
A winner for JP McManus on his chasing debut at Ayr earlier in the month, the six-year-old has entries in the Scottish Arkle and Scottish Future Champions Novices' Chase on Sunday, with Russell undecided which one to go for.
She said: "I definitely want to run him this weekend in either the two-mile race [Arkle] or the two-and-a-half [Future Champion]. He is entered at Sandown but that's just a back-up in case Musselburgh is off."
With the going at Musselburgh good to soft, hopes are high that the meeting will take place and Russell is looking forward to Tap Night getting more match practice.
She added: "He needs more experience, I still want to run him again, possibly at Kelso later in the month [February], and then we will decide whether to go for a handicap or the Arkle at Cheltenham."
Overturn and Tetlami feature among entries for both races at Musselburgh, and with Tap Night unlikely to head for Sandown, Captain Conan could face only five rivals in the Scilly Isles.
Installed at odds-on favourite, the Nicky Henderson-trained runner will be bidding to stay unbeaten over fences, with Changing Times and Houblon Des Obeaux among possible rivals.
It could be another big Saturday for Henderson, who also has Oscara Dara, favourite for the Levy Board and Betfred-backed Grade 3 Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown, though the eight-year-old could head to Ffos Las for the Welsh Champion Hurdle, which will be run for the first time as a limited handicap.