Paul Townend previews his weekend rides at Navan and Cork
It’s another busy weekend for me when I will be riding at Navan and Cork.
I have an early start at Navan with Manitopark AA (11.30). We go by Manitopark at home and she comes here with plenty of experience from bumpers in France.
She is ready to get going over hurdles. We like her. She knows her job and hopefully she can start on a winning note. The testing ground shouldn’t inconvenience her. There is a big long straight. Conditions look right.
Eden Flight (12.00) was disappointing in his first run last year. His second run was much better. A reproduction of that should be good enough.
It’s a competitive race but we like him. He hasn’t been seen for a while but he’s ready to go. If he can improve as much as he did from his first to second run he should have a nice season.
Frere Tuck (12.33) is similar to other French horses that have come to us. He had a good reputation and is starting off. We will know more after this but like what he’s doing at home. It’s hard to know until they get on the track where they fit in. They are ready to have a run, they’re not taken off the bridle at home.
Sayo (13.08) hadn’t won a while when he won in Kilbeggan. Then he went and got a fall on the Flat, which was not ideal. He is fit from running through the summer though.
It’s a competitive handicap. He’s had plenty of goes in these races without winning one. Willie has plenty of runners, and I couldn’t do the weight on the ones at the bottom, but Sayo has as good a chance as anything in the race but it’s hard to know what we’ll get.
The Big Getaway (13.43) has been schooling very well. He is a monster of a horse. We said all last year that chasing was going to be his game and we will find out here.
We couldn’t be happier with how things have gone this far. Two and a half miles looks ideal. I am really looking forward to getting him going over fences. He is one of the exciting prospects from last year. We’ve been waiting a while to get him over fences and we will see what he can do.
Saturnas (14.53) hasn’t run since finishing second in the Kerry National two years ago. It’s a good starting point but it’s hard to come back from a layoff like that. He will be going out in trip again later in the season I expect but we’ll see how he gets on her.
I couldn’t decide whether to go to Punchestown or Cork. It wasn’t easy and I could only go to one place and opted for Cork.
In the end it was hard to look away from Chacun Pour Soi (13.25). He is arguably or potentially one of the best horses in the country. I had to put myself on him and I am really looking forward to getting him back.
Of course he was a late scratch from the Cheltenham Festival and has not had a good run at things. I hope we can get a good clear run with him this time round. We would be disappointed if he doesn’t start the right way at Cork.
It wouldn’t have been simple to choose between the four runners the stable has in the John Durkan at Punchestown.
Min sets the standard up there. He’s a dual winner of the race already. Allaho and Melon are going to be a force to be reckoned with too. So will Chris’s Dream and Battleoverdoyen.
It’s going to be a great race to watch. I would have loved to be a part of it myself but I couldn’t be in two places at once.
I was delighted with how Sapphire Lady (13.55) jumped at Thurles. She looks a real chaser. Western Victory looks the one to beat but she will give a good account of herself.
It was the first time I rode Darrens Hope (14.30) in Cork the last day and I was pleasantly surprised the way she picked up down the straight. I am really looking forward to getting back on her.
There are plenty of fancies in the race but she’s done nothing wrong. I really liked her the last day and if she’s in as good a form I think she will take a lot of betting. Henry de Bromhead’s and Mick Winters’ runners will give her something to think about.
I don’t know a whole lot about Satin Sun (15.30) for James Dullea. It was a late ride to pick up. James, who is local to Cork, is a great man to ride for.
I’ve ridden him plenty of winners. It looks like the step up to two and a half will suit Satin Sun. I hope he can go one better than his last run.