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Paul Townend on Cheltenham, Laurina & weekend’s rides

| 21.02.2020

It has been a busy week at Punchestown and Thurles. I thought Salsaretta was very good in the week and she was entitled to be. She is three from three over fences and she will be a force in all the mares chases for the rest of the season.

On the other hand, Laurina was disappointing. If you stopped the race at the second last, she would have been very short in the in-running betting.

She travelled more like herself throughout the race but unfortunately when she straightened up I couldn’t get by Elfile. She did show signs of improvement and that she was getting back to herself but she is far from being 100% yet.

It’s only a few weeks to go until Cheltenham so we have been kept very busy. There’s not been much time for the nerves to kick in. If anything, it is just getting more exciting.

The atmosphere at the yard is good, the horses are well, and the main ones are starting to build it back up since the Dublin Racing Festival.

Touch wood that we can keep them all in one piece and get them all there. Right now it is looking positive and I should have a nice book of rides.

This weekend I have four rides, starting at Fairyhouse with Gamin Original (2.17). We actually have four runners in the race. They are all first time out for us so it is a bit of a guessing game.

There are a lot of horses in there with more experience than ours but we like them and this is a good starting point.

It is late in the season to get them started but they’re only getting there now and hopefully we will learn a lot more. It’ll be tough to come out and win first time out for any of the four.

Bellshill (4.02) has been competing at the highest of levels. He’s dropping down two grades after his last three runs. In saying that you only have to go back to the Dublin Racing Festival last year and he was winning at the highest level. I just hope that with the step back in class, he might start enjoying himself more.

On his day, he is definitely the pick of all of these. Acapella Bourgeois ran well considering the way he jumped in the Thyestes and his run behind Al Boum Photo was good but he’s a winner of just one race for us.

He just doesn’t seem to be winning and I went with the idea that Bellshill might come back to life in this company.

I am at Naas on Sunday and my first ride is Cadmium (2.10). He was too free in the Gold Cup at Leopardstown last time out. This is a track he likes, he jumps very well, and it’ll be a proper gallop with Ornua in there as well.

He won the race last year and I think it suits him. I hope he can go very close. Hardline had a good start to the season but his form has petered out a little bit. I hope Cadmium can build on his last outing and can win it again.

Mt Leinster (3.10) is up against Andy Dufresne here so it won’t be easy. He has to put a disappointing run behind him as well. That said, he gained more experience that day. On ratings, he has a chance and we are getting 6lbs off him. Exit Poll will make it a good test as well.

It’ll be easier than taking on Easywork and Asterion Forlonge but Andy Dufresne could be a fly in the ointment for us. Hopefully he can get back to winning ways though all the same.

I hope if Bellshill came back to his best form than he would be my best chance of a winner this weekend. Cadmium is also at a track he likes and I think he can go close.




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.