Paul Townend looks ahead to Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival
It was brilliant to get a winner in the bag on the first day on Duc Des Genievres!
I had the Potensis colours on last year when I won on Laurina. That was pretty straightforward and so was Duc Des Genievres in the Arkle.
I got a dream run around. He really put it together the last day, when he was impressive, and thankfully he put it together again.
He handled the ground very well, as he did the last time, and it surprised me how well I was going at the top of hill. At least he kept going and was foot perfect. His jumping was electric.
My other rides Melon and Stormy Ireland put in great efforts to finish second in the Champion Hurdle and Mares Hurdle on what was a good start to the meeting for the stable.
I don’t have the vocabulary to describe Willie Mullins but year on year, he produces them here in some order and fair play to him. It is a privilege to work for him.
Looking ahead to Wednesday, I’ve got four ride to enjoy. I start with Castlebawn West in the Ballymore at 1.30, who won what looked a decent maiden hurdle in Leopardstown.
The second and third have done nothing wrong since and if the rain comes in he won’t be inconvenienced by it.
He won his bumper in heavy ground in Clonmel, was second in a maiden hurdle on ground that was soft in places. He is an unexposed horse having had just two runs over hurdles. I like the form of that Leopardstown race. It rode like a good race.
I am not involved in the RSA but I think Delta Work looks rock solid in it.
His form against Le Richebourg over two and a half miles is very good when you look at what Le Richebourg has done dropping back in trip and what Delta Work has done over three miles. He has also shown a liking for track.
Killultagh Vic in the Coral Cup (2.50) probably is on a good mark in the Coral Cup. If the rain comes I don’t think it will inconvenience him. You have to go back a bit to find his best form but if he could recapture some of that he is off a nice mark.
Even though he disappointed in the Gold Cup last year, he didn’t jump a fence but he warranted a place in the line-up all the same. He has always shown a huge engine and his last run over hurdles in Gowran in the Presenting Percy race was a good one.
I just don’t think he has taken to fences since his novice days. He is a graded horse dropping back into handicap company in my book.
I got to ride Min in the Queen Mother Champion Chase last year but sit the race out this time as he is our only runner and Ruby rides. He has been to Cheltenham twice, he has been beaten by Altior twice. Where the improvement is going to come from I am not sure.
Altior went by me last year like I was standing still. But he is in great form. I think he will give Altior most to do but I can’t see him reversing all known form.
The Cross-Country Chase will be interesting to watch and I wish Keith Donoghue, a pal of ours, and Tiger Roll all the best of luck.
La Sorelita (4.50) has been disappointing since showing promise on her first start for us. She needs to improve on anything she has done so far.
Blue Sari probably surprised us a little bit winning in Gowran Park the manner he did. You would have to be taken by that.
He was bought by J P McManus and Barry Geraghty gets the ride. He has shown to be a very good horse, but I knew some time ago I wouldn’t have a ride.