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Paul Townend: Kilcruit best hope at Leopardstown

| 27.12.2021

Klassical Dream and Galopin Des Champs gave Paul Townend two winners from five rides on Tuesday and he assesses his four prospects on the final day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival.

Leopardstown 12.35 – Kilcruit

Disappointing he was beaten at Cork the last day when he was 1/14. Largy Debut didn’t boost that form yesterday so that is a bit of a worry. It looks a very good maiden hurdle. I think the step up in trip will suit him.

Journey With Me looked a very good bumper horse last year and there is plenty of word around for Minella Crooner so there are plenty of winners expected to come out of this race.

I hope Kilcruit will improve a lot from the run at Cork but as I said the way Largy Debut ran yesterday, it is a concern. However, I do think Kilcruit is my biggest chance of the day.

Leopardstown 1.10 – Shewearsitwell

She’s three from three for Willie Mullins. Two from two over hurdles and the winner of a Grade 3 in Tipperary. She hasn’t been seen since October 2020 which isn’t ideal but Willie has a good knack of getting these ready first time.  We think a lot of her so it’s nice to get her back on the track and hopefully she can pick up where she left off.


I think Heaven Help Us has a brilliant chance. We have to give her six pounds and she is race fit after her run at Cheltenham. She loves it around the track being a winner at the Dublin Racing Festival last year and she is a Cheltenham Festival winner as well, so I think she will be hard to beat but sure we will take her on and see where we go after that.

Leopardstown 1.45 – Ontheropes

I was scratching my head a little bit when deciding which one to ride. Bacardys split Bob Olinger and Master McShee who won a Grade 1 at Limerick but I just thought I would go with the young horse that is possibly opened to more improvement.

He’s a rating of 152 which he got from being very impressive in the Munster National. He wasn’t disgraced in the Ladbrokes Trophy. He has a lot of experience to call upon against novices and hopefully we can put that to good use.

Leopardstown 2.20 – Echoes In Rain

I finish off the festival riding Echoes In Rain in the Champion Hurdle. I would much rather be on Sharjah with his course form and everything. I think he will be very hard to beat.

Echoes In Rain was disappointing at Punchestown. We think she is better than that and she will have to be if she is to win here. That race wasn’t run to suit her, this should be a truer run race. We will be finding out more after it and whether we go down the Champion Hurdle route or not.

She was very progressive as a novice. She had a little hiccup the last day in the Morgiana but hopefully she can build on that and get a bit closer or maybe beat them all.

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Warren Barner