Paul Townend talks Christmas results and this weekend’s rides

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Happy New Year. I had a mixed bag of results over the Christmas-New Year period and was disappointed that a few got beat but there were also plenty of positives to come out of it. I would be willing to give a lot of them a second chance.

Al Boum Photo was the main positive. It was brilliant to get him back on track. I couldn’t have been happier with him. We would obviously have been very disappointed if he hadn’t have won.

Being a Grade 3 race he had to give away fair chunks of weight at Tramore. He travelled with loads of enthusiasm and jumped brilliantly.

We didn’t learn anymore about him there other than that he still has it and hopefully he can build on it for the rest of the season.

I was very happy with Kemboy in the Savills Chase. It’s there for everyone to see that a lot of ours are taking a run. He was in the highest level of race and ran very well for a long way.

Even off the bend, up the straight, he went and joined the horses in front and just got tired from the last home. There are a lot of positives to take out of that and he will improve plenty for it.

Klassical Dream was probably the most disappointing of them. I suppose he was on a retrieval mission after Punchestown and he just didn’t do himself a whole lot of justice at Leopardstown either.

The mistake obviously put to bed whatever chance we had, but at that stage of the race I just wasn’t running away anyway and that’s possibly why he made the mistake. 

It’s back to the drawing board a little bit with him. Hopefully something will come to light but he doesn’t seem to be the force he was at this stage last year.

I thought Chacun Pour Soi travelled like the best horse in his race, and jumped like the best horse. If you stop the race at the second last he is definitely odds-on in running. He just got very tired in the straight.

It was kind of the story of Christmas for us but I wouldn’t write him off on that. I was very happy with him up to the last furlong, furlong and a half. It was just match fitness and it was his first run in open company.

It was never happening for Laurina. After jumping two fences you could put a line through her. Bacardys was a bit similar. Apple’s Jade produced an unbelievable performance but I was never comfortable on Bacardys.

Maybe the race at Fairyhouse behind Honeysuckle left its mark a bit more than we thought. We were beaten early.

There is a long season left ahead.

Saturday

I am in action at Cork and Naas this weekend.

I start at Cork where Golden Spread (1.25) has a good level of bumper form. The lack of a run is a worry. Ours have been taking a run, especially with this race over three miles around Cork. 

If he is ready enough, I think it is a good opportunity for him. Obviously Minella Encore, our other runner, isn’t going to be a pushover and he has the benefit of a run.

It’s a nice place to start him off but you would have to bear in mind it’s his first start of the season.

Escaria Ten is open to plenty of improvement and has had a couple of run so could take a bit of beating.

Guard Of Honour (1.55) hasn’t been seen for a long time and it’s his first run for us.

We are learning about him. He had a high enough rating on the Flat but hasn’t run in a long time. There are a few of these race fit.

We start him off here to see how he fares. He does things nicely at home but whatever he does he can only improve for it.

Sunday

I head to Naas on Sunday where my first ride is Good Thyne Tara (12.50). On paper this looks to be a two-horse race. 

Two miles is probably sharp enough for her but in a beginners’ chase she should jump well enough, she’s had a run. It looks between her and Caravation. A reproduction of her first run should see her in the shake-up.

Tornado Flyer (1.20) has the experience. He has won around the track. He made a couple of mistakes on his second run in Navan but he is learning the whole time.

He might prefer the ground to be a little slower than what we are going to have. It’s due to be dry for the weekend up to Sunday so if there was a worry it would be the ground.

We thought a lot of him as a bumper horse and a novice hurdler and he’s unbeaten over fences so hopefully he can continue that. 

He has to give away a bit of weight. It’s not a big field but it’s competitive. You can probably make a case for the majority of them and I think there will be plenty of winners to come out of it.

Asterion Forlonge (2.50) looks a bit of a stayer. Naas is a testing enough track, albeit the ground will be good.

He jumps well at home. He’s had a run in a bumper for us and hopefully that will benefit him. We would be hoping to get his hurdling career off to the best possible start.

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.