Paul Townend discusses being champion jockey and Punchestown
We have reached the final day of the campaign in Ireland and at least I can relax a little bit now as it is numerically impossible for Rachael Blackmore to catch me so I can accept I am going to be champion jockey.
It’s been a long time, eight years, since I did it last. I have had a brilliant year and I have had a lot of luck along the way. Now I am in a good position to do it again but I will enjoy this one first before thinking about next season.
There will be no holiday before that starts. We have a jockeys’ do on Saturday night, the Flat and National Hunt Awards on Sunday night and then we are back riding on Thursday. We will appreciate the few days off.
My first ride is going to be Redhotfillypeppers (3.10) who has taken very well to chasing. I think she is off a fair mark here. She has a nice weight. The trip is an unknown but we think she stays well.
She has run quite free but has settled down a good bit and that will help her get the trip. I hope she can put up a good performance as she is open to improvement.
She was obviously unlucky to tip up uncharacteristically at Cheltenham and hopefully we can rectify that. She is a great jumper of fences and hurdles so for her to fall was a big shock. It just goes to show they can all fall at some stage.
Hopefully that hasn’t left its mark and she should be good enough to beat these. Stormy Ireland ended up finishing second when she fell.
French Made (4.25) is an improving mare. I thought she ran well at Cheltenham. She ran a career best in Fairyhouse.
She is going to have to improve again to beat Fakir D’Oudaries and Fusil Raffles but we are getting the 7lb mares allowance which will be a help and she is going the right way.
Bellow Mome (5.00) ran a cracker for a long way in the Irish Grand National but didn’t seem to get home. It’s a big worry that he had a very hard race only recently. He finished very tired.
This will be an easier task for him. He definitely has his chance and has to be taken seriously but it is a worry that the Irish National was so close to Punchestown this year.
There is a fair chance I’ve chosen the wrong one in Eight And Bob (5.35) as there were so many to pick from. I went with Eight And Bob as he has a nice low weight.
It’s an ultra-competitive handicap, which it always is. I just thought he was too free over three miles at Fairyhouse and when his chance was gone Ruby didn’t knock him about.
He’s improved so much for Willie. We don’t know where that improvement could stop, but he’s gone up a lot and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the handicapper has him.
Hopefully he can eke out a bit more as he has been so consistent. But you can make a case for any of our other horses.