Paul Townend previews a cracking weekend at Punchestown
This weekend is all about Punchestown for me, where I have seven rides.
I start off on Voix Du Reve in a Grade 2 Novice Chase (1.10). He was very impressive when he won on his only run over fences at Galway.
He beat Mind’s Eye comfortably that day and he takes him on again. I think he is a really exciting Novice Chaser.
Cadmium has a lot of experience to call upon. His form in Punchestown is by far his best so that will play to his strengths.
Hardline is a good hurdler. Again he’s only had one run over fences on the track but he did run in a point-to-point so he has that experience to call on.
I was nothing but happy with my horse at Galway and if we have learned anything from that, it’s that he looks a natural over fences. I think that should put him right in the frame.
Next, I ride Good Thyne Tara in the Mares Hurdle (2.20). The drop to two-and-a-quarter should suit her.
She was very keen over a bit further at Limerick the last day but she’s been freshened up since then. Hopefully she sets a good standard here.
Stormy Ireland looked very good last year. When she won she looked very good, but she had her disappointments along the way too. She hasn’t run since Auteil in June so I think we could have the fitness edge on her and we have more experience.
I’m on Thomas O’Malley in the Novice Handicap Hurdle (2.55). He only beat one horse home on his last run. His runs of late have been anything but promising.
He had a few decent bits of form back in 2017 when trained by Joseph O’Brien. If he can return to that sort of form you could make some sort of case for him but his runs of late suggest he’s not running to that level.
My first ride on Sunday is on Eoline Jolie (12.35). She started very late last season and held very good company in the latter stages of last season.
Hopefully she will be better suited to handicaps off what we think is a fair mark. She will have to build on what she done last season.
She’s got a couple of runs in and hopefully she can show us where she sits among the pecking order.
She faces Hearts Are Trumps who travelled really well the last time in Galway. He looked like a winner for a long way and got beaten by what looks a very good horse by Charles Byrne. I think he could be hard to beat, although he is creeping up in the handicap as well.
I’m on Conduct Yourself for John Kiely in a Handicap Chase (1.05). She has been running well of late and has been placed the last couple of times over fences.
She has nice light racing weight here. She is obviously rated much higher over hurdles than she is over fences. She has been running consistently well without winning so hopefully we can get her head in front on Sunday
Orion D’Aubrelle won well in Listowel and I ride him here in a Novice Chase (1.40). He did make a few jumping errors on the day as he did on his run before that at Down Patrick.
He looks up against it here taking on the likes of Blow By Blow. Obviously he’s a Cheltenham Festival winner and sets the standard. If my one can run a nice race he will gain more experience and hopefully pick up a bit of prize money.
In the Morgiana Hurdle (2.15), I ride Sharjah. He was very impressive winning the Galway Hurdle but got found out at Down Royal the last day. He has six-and-half-lengths to find with Samcro, who can only improve from his run in the North.
We have to take on Faugheen and Supasundae as well so he really does have to step up plenty. I’m not sure where we are going to find the improvement. I hope he can run a nice race and pick up some money of course.
It is obviously a really exciting race. Faugheen was very impressive in it last year and I think it will be a mouth-watering clash between himself and Samcro. Hopefully the ground is safe and they take each other on.
It is very early to be talking about the NH Jockey’s title I think. We’ve had a very good summer, in fact our best by far. Support from trainers has been great and hopefully they can keep supporting us throughout the winter and we can keep getting winners.