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Paul Townend discusses his rides at Down Royal and Cork

| 01.11.2019

I am Down Royal bound on Saturday and my first ride is on Zenon (1.15) in what looks to be a very good race.

He hasn’t run in a long time, coming from John Gosden’s yard. Envoi Allen will probably be very hard to beat here. Gordon Elliott’s horses are in great form. We are hoping for a nice run and to be placed, but there are probably bigger things for him down the line.

My next ride is La Sorelita (1.50) and it is her first run back having been off for a little while. She disappointed us a couple of times last year. She travelled really well but just didn’t seem to be getting home.

Her run at Punchestown in a handicap was very good. She is a nice racing weight here and hopefully is ready enough to do herself justice.

Real Steal (2.55) finished out the season last year very well, winning a big handicap at Punchestown. This is his first run back since then. It will be interesting to see how ready our horses are; these are the first ones coming out. On ratings he has a great chance.

Paul Nicholls has sent over Secret Investor and has to be taken seriously and Mengli Khan is fit from running all summer so it won’t be an easy ask. If he can improve as much as Kemboy did after winning that Handicap Chase at Punchestown then we could have a good season with him.

On Sunday I go to Cork, starting off with Bronagh’s Belle (1pm). She’s been placed on her two runs over hurdles so far.

This looks a stiff enough task, but the experience of her two runs will help her and she seems to be getting the hang of jumping now. I hope she can run a nice race.

Willie Mullins also runs Farid for JP McManus. We thought a lot of him but obviously it is his first run in a while.

Drury (1:35) was second to Rocket Lad in Gowran last time out and that should hopefully be good enough here. She has to take on Declan Queally’s Uisce Solace who brings very strong form to the table.

Henry De Bromhead’s Minella Melody is also in good form but we have had a run over hurdles and hope she can improve from that.

Blazing Emily (2.10) ran ok behind Darver Star and Fast Buck in Limerick the last day. The step up to three miles here should suit her. She is a point-to-point winner as far as I know. Doctor Duffy sets the standard.

He has been busy of late. Rocket Lad also has the measure of us on bumper form but hopefully jumping can bring about a bit more improvement for our mare.

I have picked Sayo in the Grade 3 Novice Chase (2.45). He put his jumping together in Galway the last day and was very impressive.

It has just taken him a couple of runs to do that but it’s a tough ask for him here with Any Second Now looking hard to beat. Dallas Des Pictons is also a good horse of Gordon’s so it’s no easy task for us.

The trip should be no problem for her nor would any rain. On his hurdle form, I think he has a great chance. I just hope he is learning quick enough over fences.

My last ride is on Pont Avon in the Cork Grand National (3.20). He is a novice but he has plenty of experience over fences.

He took to chasing really well and hopefully he has enough experience to be thrown in the deep end here with the season campaigners. Being a novice, he is open to a little bit more improvement so hopefully he can put up a big show.

We have a lot of good rides over the weekend. It is a bit unknown as to how ready our horses are coming back but I hope they are fit enough to do justice and get a couple of winners.




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.