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Paul Townend talks Boxing Day, Laurina and Leopardstown

| 23.12.2019

I have three rides on the first day of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown starting with Fils Spirituel (12.10)

He came to us with a good reputation but was hugely disappointing on his first run in Punchestown.

He will have to build on that significantly to win here, but we don’t think that was his true running and we feel there is a lot more to come.

As always it is a very competitive maiden. On St Stephen’s Day at Leopardstown there is not going to be an easy race, but we do feel he has more to offer if he can put a very poor first run behind him.

It was a tough decision to side with Mt Leinster (12.40) over Concertista who was second in the Mares’ Novice at Cheltenham last season. I hope I am right to go with Mt Leinster.

He ran a nice first run for us which should be a good enough level of form to feature very highly here.

J P McManus’s Entoucas looks the main danger to Willie’s two after a couple of good runs in defeat in maidens. He was thrown in the deep end last season and had good form with Klassical Dream, which is standout form.

I hope I am on the right one, although I am not sure I am. Concertista was well turned over when long odds-on the last day so I’ve gone with Mt Leinster.

Willie wasn’t keen on me taking another ride before Laurina runs so Danny Mullins rides Echoes In Rain in the juvenile hurdle and I don’t ride either of our two in the handicap hurdle.

Laurina (2.20) is a very important horse but I hope the first couple can win so we come into this with a bit of confidence. Hopefully she can win as well and it will look like the right decision.

I am really looking forward to her. I couldn’t have been anymore impressed at Gowran. This is going to be a real test though. I think there is going to be a lot of pace in the race and there will be no hiding place.

It’s a select field but a very good field. We lack experience over fences compared to the others, bar our own Royal Rendezvous. It will let us know where she is.

Fakir d’oudairies looks very special. We are meeting him at level weights whereas in a month’s time we’ll be getting weight off him.

It’s going to be tough but she is a mare I love. The ground is going to be good which shouldn’t inconvenience her.

I’d be disappointed if I am not on the right one here! Royal Rendezvous is good and has little miles on the clock for us but has kept winning. 

Hopefully we do a get a couple of winners and Faugheen (2.40) can win at Limerick too.

I could have gone down but I thought with my back-up rides Leopardstown was the best place to go. I give him a great chance. I think he will give them all something to think about.

Happy Christmas




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.