Two of Timeform's writers discuss which race dual Grade 1-winning hurdler The Tullow Tank should run in at the Cheltenham Festival...
"He's effective at two miles, we know that, and the Supreme would do, but he could be even better at the Neptune trip, particularly when judged on his stamina-laden pedigree..."
Tony McFadden - Supreme Novices' Hurdle
The Tullow Tank may be a chaser on looks and bred to stay at least three miles in time, but the fact he has won two Grade 1 races over the minimum distance this season suggests that he certainly doesn't lack pace. True, he has been strong in the finish, shaping as if a step up in trip could see him to even greater effect, but it is worth considering that the Supreme looks like an extremely open renewal - they are betting 10.5 the field on Betfair - whereas the unbeaten pair of Faugheen and Red Sherlock could prove to be formidable opponents in the Neptune. The perceived wisdom is that The Tullow Tank will get outpaced over an extended two miles in the Supreme but Cheltenham's long-established watering policy, which ensures that the ground won't be too quick, will help in that regard, and the stiff uphill finish is bound to play to his strengths. The Tullow Tank has strong form at the trip and the Supreme simply represents his best opportunity of Festival success as the Neptune will probably require a better performance to win.
Matt Gardner - Neptune Novices' Hurdle
"Found plenty to lead final 50 yards", "open to improvement, particularly when stepped up to two and a half miles" and "he's going to be well suited by at least two and a half miles and the Neptune appeals as a far more suitable target for him than the Supreme at this stage" are just some of the phrases used in Timeform's reports on The Tullow Tank's three wins this season. The last one is particularly pertinent here.
Of the two, the Supreme is potentially the more straightforward target given that in the Neptune The Tullow Tank will likely meet with Faugheen and Red Sherlock, to name but two. He's effective at two miles, we know that, and the Supreme would do, but he could be even better at the Neptune trip, particularly when judged on his stamina-laden pedigree, and he doesn't have much to find at all with the aforementioned pair on Timeform ratings.
This conundrum can be solved very simply and it's a question of what is merely suitable compared to what is ideal, or even perfect. The Supreme is suitable but the Neptune is spot on, and that is the race that The Tullow Tank should run in.
Where do you think The Tullow Tank should run? Have your say in the comments section below.