Paul Townend on a huge book of rides at the Dublin Racing Festival
I have four rides on Day One of the Dublin Racing Festival, starting with Chacun Pour Soi in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (1.25). I suppose he will have to come on from his run at Christmas time.
I felt he just got tired that day and ran very well for a long time. He done a lot right and there are positives to take from it. He gained a lot of experience. It won’t be an easy task with A Plus Tard taking him on again.
Cilaos Emery seems to be stepping up to the mark this year and Min is a two-time winner of the race so he is probably going to have to bring his A-game on Saturday. I won’t give up on him yet and I hope he can confirm his form from last year.
I ride Melon in the Arkle (2.00). Notebook and Fakir D’Oudairies set the standard here. I was very taken by Notebook at Christmas. Melon was going to win well but made a bad mistake at the last and done well to recover from it.
He will have to improve from that but on hurdles form we know the ability is there. Cash Back looked good at Naas the last day, doing a lot of things right. The switch to fences brought about a lot of improvement.
He’s a real natural and is sure to put up a good account of himself as well. I think Melon getting his head in-front the last day will do a lot for his confidence.
I ride Klassical Dream in the Champion Hurdle (3.10) and it is a retrieval mission now after a very poor run the last day. He made a bad mistake and we have to get his confidence back. If he puts up a nice run and gets placed, we would be delighted.
He has been beaten twice now this year and he must prove himself. I can’t wait to see Honeysuckle who faces her toughest test so far. She looks to be an incredibly good mare but I am interested to see her taking on Sharjah.
My last ride is Buildmeupbuttercup in the Ladbrokes Hurdle (3.45). It is a very competitive race and you can make a case for the majority of runners in the race. She ran well when not jumping well the last day at Fairyhouse coming second. She got a couple of pounds for that. She is a high-class flat performer and I am sure she can hit the frame on Saturday.
I have a busy day on Sunday again at Leopardstown, starting on Drury (12.55). She has plenty of weight and she is improving. Again you can make a case for any amount of them here. It is very hard to be too sweet on any of them. Drury has won her last two and hopefully she has the experience for this.
My next ride is Mt Leinster (1.55). Easywork sets the standard. We were four or five lengths behind him in Gowran in our first run of the season. I think we can get a lot closer to him on Sunday as he has good course form and won well at Christmas in a maiden.
It wasn’t easy to pick between him and Asterion Forlonge. He was mightily impressive at Naas but I just think the course form of Mt Leinster could give him the advantage here. Asterion Forlonge could possibly be better over further as well.
I ride Quartz Du Rheu in another competitive handicap (2.30). I won on him on his first run for us at Tramore on nice ground. He has been running consistently well without reaching the heights I thought he might have. He is a novice and open to improvement and I hope he can give a good account of himself here.
My next ride is a big one on Faugheen in the Flogas Novice Chase (3.00). He was very impressive at Christmas with Patrick Mullins on board. He is a star in the yard and he really has captured the imagination of everyone in racing going chasing at 12 years of age.
It’s not the usual course to take but he is such a high-class horse. He can be competitive wherever he goes. Battleoverdoyen looks the obvious one here. I was never happy with Tornado Flyer the last day. It was hard to pick him coming off the back of such a disappointing run. I am really looking forward to riding Faugheen again and hopefully we can do the business.
In the Irish Gold Cup, I ride Kemboy (3.30). I thought he did a lot right at Christmas. Delta Work got the better of us but I hope we can reverse the form. We have the rating to do so. Presenting Percy was just behind us that day and I am sure Pat Kelly is hoping he can improve as well. It is a very good race and would be very nice to win it.
I ride Robin Des Foret lastly (4.00). He ran a belter on his first run at Cheltenham. I think 2m5f is his optimum trip. He is sure to travel well and should be bang in there turning in. I couldn’t be happier with my horse.
Hopefully we can get a few winners! It’s a huge weekend!