Paul Townend eyes a winner or two at Naas and Navan this weekend
I have six rides at Naas on Saturday in what is going to be a very busy weekend for me. I start with Blackbow (12:00).
He was a very good bumper horse. He missed last season but starts here in a maiden hurdle and I think he is an exciting horse for the season. Hopefully we can get him off to the best possible start here.
Tiger Tap Tap (12.30) is actually still a maiden but he was competing at the highest level last year.
He gets 4lbs here so we are hoping that he can build on what he done last year. It’s a competitive race but he looks like a very smart horse. He ran into Sir Eric a few times last year.
I ride Cilaos Emery (1.05) who was very impressive in his only run over fences last year before getting hurt and missing the rest of the season.
He lacks experience against some of the horses in this race. It is very competitive with the likes of Ornua to name but one.
However my horse is one we think an awful lot of. He ran to a very high level over hurdles and he looked to be a natural over fences last year.
Savar (1.40) needs to improve on anything he has shown recently over hurdles. He was running on the flat for a while but of all his runs over hurdles last year, he would have to improve on them.
Et Dite (2.50) won two mile-and-a-half flat races in France. She’s a nice recruit who we are still learning about. Willie also has Elixir D’ainay here for JP McManus. He has the experience and is a horse we think a lot of at home. Whatever my horse can do tomorrow, she will build on it.
I finish the day by riding Tornado Flyer (3.25) in a very competitive race. He had an interrupted season last year.
He won first time, then pulled up very early in Naas and wasn’t seen until Punchestown where he just wasn’t 100% ready. He is a very good bumper horse and we think chasing will bring about improvement in him and that he can go right to the top.
Hopefully we get off to a good start here. Obviously, Tower Bridge brings all the experience here as does Cracking Smart. We like our lad; his schooling has been good and hopefully he can get his chasing career off to a good start.
I head to Navan on Sunday, where I have five rides. I start off by riding Fast Buck (12.35). He drops back from two-and-a-half miles in Limerick the last day, where he was narrowly beaten. He had a very good summer campaign.
He disappointed us a bit during the winter last year so the ground might be a concern here. Abacadabras was very good in his maiden at Gowran and brings a high level of bumper form to the table. He will probably be the one that gives us most to do here.
I take on Apple’s Jade with Bacardys in the Lismullen Hurdle (1.05). Apple’s Jade is obviously an incredible mare. We will be all out to beat her.
Our horse was tried over fences a couple of times and it just didn’t seem to work out for him. He was second in the Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown last year so hopefully he can have a bright future over hurdles this year.
Eden Flight (1.35) is a horse we don’t know a lot about yet. He had one run and a win in France in a bumper. His schooling has been very good and hopefully we can start off his campaign nicely here.
Andy Dufresne will probably give us the most to do. He looks like a very good horse and has the point-to-point experience as well.
I ride Duc Des Genievres (2.10) next. He was very impressive in the Arkle last year. He was beaten at Punchestown since. I think the soft ground at Cheltenham really suited him and it will be soft at Navan so that will help.
A Plus Tard beat him in a Beginners Chase at the start of last season so he is going to give us plenty to think about. If Duc Des Genievres is going to step up to the open class two mile chasers, he will need to put in a nice performance here.
I end the day on the Melon (3.15). He is obviously a very good hurdler without winning a Grade 1. He has been second at three Cheltenham Festivals.
We are hoping that a move to fences is going to bring about a little bit more improvement in him. His schooling has been very good and hopefully we can get his chasing career off to a good start and he can go right to the top over fences.