West Country trainer Colin Tizzard is non stranger to big race successes at the Cheltenham Festival, having landed the Stayers’ Hurdle with Thistlecrack, the Ryanair Chase with Cue Card and 2018 Gold Cup with Native River.
Judge on what I saw last season he looks to have another potential top notcher on his hands in the shape of Reserve Tank.
This five-year-old got off the mark over hurdles at the third time of asking when staying on strongly Elusive Belle by 2 3/4 lengths at Sandown. He then followed-up in gutsy fashion when getting up in the last stride to score by a neck in a minor four-runner affair at Kempton.
Connections then decided to pitch the son of Jermey into Grade 1 company and despite being sent off 20/1 Reserve Tank ran out the resounding winner of the 2m 4f Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at the Aintree Grand National Festival.
After racing at the head off affair throughout in the hand of Robbie Power, Reserve Tank took up the running three from home travelling well.
He then made a mistake at the last, but quickly regained his momentum and showed a smart turn of foot in the closing stages to repel the sustained challenge of the Olly Murphy-trained Brewin’upastorm by 3 1/4 lengths.
There was simply nothing not to like about the way in which Reserve Tank got the job done and he had some very smart types in behind.
Reserve Tank Entry For the Cheltenham 2020: Marsh Novices’ Chase (12/03, 13:30)
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Improved Leaps and Bounds After Ulcer Treatment
Speaking after the race, Tizzard said: “Reserve Tank has only just come into his coat now. He had ulcers at Christmas and wasn’t going anywhere, but now he has won three on the trot. You never know where this improvement comes from sometimes.
“He has improved leaps and bounds in his last three runs. It was a beautiful ride from Robbie. He is a strong stayer and did everything right. They can get caught after the last quite easily here but he is strong stayer. In the end, he won it well and was going away at the line.
“I am sure that we will run him over two and half chasing next year but he is a stayer and will be a three-miler in time.”
Winning jockey Rower was also suitably impressed. He said: “He has surprised me a bit. He was a big, weak baby when I won on him at Sandown, but he has just improved and improved all season.
“We didn’t go mad and it was steady away. He loved that drying ground and, when I asked him three out, he actually quickened up very well. I have always thought that three miles would be his trip but he showed me a gear today that I didn’t think he had. He stays well.
“He is going to make a lovely chaser next year – he jumps his hurdles really well, so neat – and I would imagine he will definitely be going staying chasing next season.”
Ideal type for Marsh Chase
Reserve Tank went on to show that there was no fluke whatsoever about that victory when rounding off the campaign with victory in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle over 2m 4f at the Punchestown Festival.
He again travelled well throughout and when strongly pressed after the last found plenty to beat Sams Profile by 1/2 a length.
Given his aforementioned problem with ulcers, Reserve Tank achieved so much in such a short space of time to end the season in style.
He is a strapping sort open to any amount of further improvement as he strengthens up with age and is built to come into his own when going chasing.
That is the plan for the 2019/20 season and Reserve Tank is a horse with bags of untapped potential and a must for anyone’s horses-to-follow list.
There are several options for him at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, but for me he looks tailor-made for the 2m 4f Marsh Novices’ Chase.
So, at the odds on offer, he looks a tempting each-way punt.