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Paul Townend discusses Gowran Park, Navan, Altior and Cyrname

| 22.11.2019

I start at Gowran Park with Kid Curry (11.50). He ran OK on the first day but didn’t build on it like I thought he would.

The ground was very heavy that day and it will be the same at Gowran so that’s a big concern. I do hope he shows more promise like he did on his first run.

Mt Leinster (12.25) is a very good bumper horse. This looks a tough maiden hurdle which you’d expect at this time of year.

He has a high level of bumper form, he jumps well at home, and touch wood we can have a nice introduction to hurdling. There’s a few in there with bumper wins to there name as well so it won’t be a walkover.

In the Ladbrokes Novice Hurdle (1.00), I ride Franco De Port who is a new horse for us this year. He was very impressive in France on his only start. We like him a lot at home.

It is his first run for us so it is a bit of an unknown but what he does at home is nice. It is a competitive race and hopefully he can transfer what he shows at home onto the track.

Getabird (2.10) has been a talking horse since we got him.

He was supposed to be our Supreme horse from a few years ago but he hasn’t been the easiest horse to train. He didn’t have a hard season last year. He seems well at home.

Amy Morrissey rides him out every day and keeps him sound. She seems happy with him and it is good to get him back on the track.

He is going the right way around anyway, as he needs to go right-handed, so it looks a good place to start back again.

Mengli Khan has the rating to win the race but his run at Down Royal leaves a bit to be desired and he can be a bit tricky.

We are hoping the real Getabird turns up. You are limited to where you go with him. He tends to want to go right-handed so Cheltenham doesn’t suit.

When he went there, he boiled over with Ruby that day. We will see how we get on tomorrow. He is one of these horses where we can’t look too far ahead with.

My next ride is on Laurina(2.45). It will be interesting to see her over fences, but she is a big imposing mare and I don’t think chasing will do any harm to her. In fact, I think it could improve her.

It is exciting to get her back on track and over a fence. Obviously Minella Indo is the stand out horse and sets the standard.

Hopefully we can get a clear round of jumping and do everything right; the mares allowance will be a big help to us.

I think she could have a big future over fences. She hasn’t jumped a fence in public yet, so it would be a bold shout to start talking about races at Cheltenham for her now. Lets get this out of the way first. I do think she has a big future over fences. 

I have a lot of good rides at Gowran but I am looking forward to riding Laurina the most. She is probably the most exiting one.


I head to Navan on Sunday, starting with Francin(12.30). We haven’t seen this horse since Christmas 2017. He ran well in defeat at Leopardstown.

It has been a long wait to get him back on track so I suppose that is a feat in itself. Hopefully he shows a bit of sparkle that he had a couple of years ago.

Cash Back (2:00) is a free-going sort. He wasn’t over-raced last year. Willie was just trying to keep the lid on him a bit. He will handle the slower ground.

I liked him when I won a maiden on him at the back end of last year and I think he will be a better chaser than he was a hurdler. He will have to be to win on Sunday.

It would be very nice to win the Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase (2.30) as it has been ten years since I won it last.

I ride Redhotfillypeppers and it is our first run of the season so it’ll be very hard in a competitive race like this.

She does have a nice racing weight, the trip shouldn’t be any problem, nor will the ground. You can’t go into a big handicap like this on your first start of the season expecting to win.

A couple of horses up the top look like stand outs and they have a lot of weight because of that. If my horse can put a nice run together she could run into a place. I think there will be a big handicap in her this season.

Mindsmadeup (3.00) is similar to Redhotfillypeppers, although I don’t think he will appreciate the slower ground. He is nicely treated over hurdles compared to his chasing mark.

The ground is an issue though. If he copes with it then he might run into a place but there are a few in there that will handle the ground better than him.

My book of rides is not quite as strong as Saturday’s but my best ride is probably Cash Back if the switch to fences brings about improvement. I hope it can.

Altior v Cyrname & the Ladbrokes Trophy

One of the big races this weekend is the Christy 1965 Chase and If I had to ride Altior or Cyrname, I’d go with the former.

I always said I would love a spin on Altior. I think he is an incredible horse. He has proven how good he is and in my opinion Cyrname will have to step up to Altior’s class. He sets the standard here.

The Ladbrokes Trophy is on the radar as well and I will be flying over for it next Saturday. Cabaret Queen seems in good form.

She got a good hike for winning the Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick but probably deserved every pound of it.

She has a nice weight, the track shouldn’t be a problem and fingers crossed we can keep her right for another week. We were lucky enough to win it two years ago with Total Recall so a repeat of that would be very nice.




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.