Paul Townend hopes his winning season will continue in 2019

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I start 2019 in front in the Irish jump jockeys championship. We are keeping an eye on it and it’s a great battle with Rachael Blackmore, who has gone on since Listowel.

It’s very early in the season still to be concentrating fully on it but it’s definitely something we are anxious to give a good rattle again.

The season is going unbelievably well for me. I have ridden as many winners so far this season as I’ve rode most other years. The main thing will be to stay fit and healthy and give it as good a shot as I can.

That continues at Fairyhouse where I have five rides, starting with Westport Lady (12.20) for Willie Mullins in the maiden hurdle.

She won her bumper very impressively the last day at Thurles. She seems to stay well and the two and a mile trip will suit her.

Noel Meade’s horse Momus probably sets the standard on his run behind Defi Bleu, his last run was a good one too and he has more experience as well. But we are getting 7lb off him and hopefully that will help our case.

The mares’ novice hurdle looks a good opportunity for My Sister Sarah (12.55). She won well on her first run over hurdles but things didn’t really go to plan on the second day but she still ran a cracker to be just beat.

This looks a nice opportunity for her to be fair. She is one that will be building and going forward the whole time so we would be disappointed if she didn’t put up a good show.

All things going right we’d hope she could nearly draw here.

Oscars Den (1.30) is not getting any younger. He will be 11 years old for this race.

His best runs would make him competitive here but there are a few in here that are open to a lot more improvement than he is at this stage. It’s hard to be confident of his chances against younger and less exposed horses.

Liz Doyle’s Cairnhill is probably the one of those that stands out most having won well at Wexford and run creditably at Limerick since. But if Oscars Den can rediscover his best form he would have a little chance.

Ronald Pump (2.05) is a tricky enough horse to get things right with. Robbie Power was very good on him when he won the last day at Cork and now he has got his head in front that could be a big thing.

He could build on that again. We’d be hoping he could be thereabouts again on that run.

Mags Mullins’ horse Agusta Gold is coming off a break and hasn’t run since August so we will have a fitness edge there.

Things have to fall right for him, he is a hold-up horse so will need a bit of luck in running.

I rode Great Khan (2.40) the last day and he has a fair bit to find. This looks a race for Roaring Bull to lose rather than us to win.

If things go wrong for him we’d be there to pick up the pieces. I think the step up to two miles five will definitely suit my horse. He’s had a run but he was disappointing to be honest.

It probably wasn’t the strongest race and he was beaten a long way, and while the experience and fitness of that run will help, we’ll be all out to beat Roaring Bull.

Happy New Year,

Paul

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Paul Townend

Paul is an Irish jockey who competes in National Hunt racing and is an integral part of the famous and vastly successful Willie Mullins team. Paul was Irish jump racing Champion Jockey for the 2010-11 season and will be discussing his rides in a weekly blog with Ladbrokes News throughout the jumps season.