Paul Townend previews his Grand National chances on Pleasant Company

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I am delighted to be involved in this year’s Grand National and if Pleasant Company (5.15) can perform like Cadmium did in the Topham Chase then I have plenty to look forward to.

Cadmium was deadly over the fences. He was pretty lit up before the race but it wasn’t a bad thing because I was able to get my position and hold it early on. I got into a beautiful rhythm on him and it was straightforward. It was a brilliant experience.

The Grand National is something special over those fences and I hadn’t got close to riding a winner over them so I hope it’s a good omen for Pleasant Company.

If he can put up a performance like he did 12 months ago when he was beaten a head by Tiger Roll I will be in for a good spin round.

I hope he will recognise he is back at Aintree. He has a similar profile this year to last year in that his form is ordinary to say the least.

You never know in a race like a National whether a horse will take to it or not, but he has had a couple of goes at the race and he seems to have enjoyed it. The conditions will be fine and I hope he can run well again.

I think Rathvinden, Ruby’s horse, has a great chance. I won the Bobbyjo Chase on him and loved him that day. I have won a couple of chases on him but he struck me like a horse that will take to Aintree.

He obviously showed he stays at Cheltenham last year with Patrick Mullins. He has a bit of class to get you in a good position. He is simple to ride. You can put him anywhere.

Sunday

There is no respite as I am back at Fairyhouse where I have three rides.

Great White Shark (1.50) has improved with every run for us. If she can build on that again this race looks a winnable opportunity for her.

Obviously her first run was disappointing but she improved at Thurles, and improved again the last day where Caravation, who beat her, came out and won again subsequently.

That gave the form a boost. She is learning on the job and might not have to improve much more to win this.

Cash Back (2.55) was very impressive in his first run for us. He is a horse I liked a lot when he won at Thurles. This is a stiffer task.

Mister Blue Sky ran a cracker in Naas the meeting before Cheltenham. I think he will come on for that as he was running off the back of an absence. He is the one we all have to beat. But mine is unexposed.

Harrie (3.30) has a bit to find. He came to us with a big reputation, won in Tramore, then was third over two miles in Punchestown – I’d say it was just too quick for him that day – and fell in Thurles.

Easy Game won a couple of graded races and I like Gallant John Joe a lot. He beat me on Mister Blue Sky in Naas and he will take a bit of beating. We have to improve but the step up in trip will suit Harrie.

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.