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Paul Townend previews his rides at Limerick on St Stephen’s Day and Leopardstown on Sunday

| 23.12.2020

It is going to be a quiet St Stephen’s Day for me. I spoke to Willie Mullins about whether to go to Limerick or Leopardstown and we went through every horse.

I just thought that Asterion Forlonge (14.35) was an important ride at Limerick. It is an important Grade 1 race and it looks an ideal opportunity for him. 

We have a good book of runners and rides at Leopardstown, with a couple of interesting maidens. Our juvenile Saint Sam has plenty to find with Zanahiyr and Felix Desjy looks the one to beat in the Grade 1 novice chase.

In the end it sorted itself and I will head to Limerick for one ride, but it was a bit of a headache for me over the morning.

Going right-handed is an obvious plus for Asterion Forlonge. He will handle the ground and the trip looks ideal. It’s only five runners but it’s a quality field.

Pencilfulloflead seems to be a better horse over fences, Janadil was very good in his beginners’ chase and Colreevy the same.

So it’s not going to be a walk in the park but we will be disappointed if Asterion Forlonge isn’t up to this.


I am a bit busier on Sunday at Leopardstown where I start with Dark Voyager (12.05). His first run in a maiden at Ballinrobe looks very good with Zanahiyr going on and destroying them all in Fairyhouse. 

Dark Voyager disappointed since in Punchestown but a bit of nicer ground in Leopardstown should suit him and he has the benefit of two runs over hurdles now. We would be hoping for a good run and something similar to his first run should put him bang there.

Klassical Dream (12.35) stayed hurdling last year and made two huge mistakes in his two runs in Punchestown and then in Leopardstown and missed the rest of the season after that. 

He looks well, feels well, he’s a proper two miler and a class act – a Cheltenham winner. We are hoping for a clear round and if he takes to fences like he has to schooling he can be a force to be reckoned with in this division.

Chacun Pour Soi (13.10) went to Cork last time because he got beat in this race last year. As you know I think the world of him. I gave up the ride on Min in a Grade 1 to go and ride Chacun Pour Soi in the Grade 2. I love him and I hope he can get the job done this time.

Put The Kettle On is coming here instead of going to Kempton now so that adds another bit of spice to the race and Notebook looks to have progressed from his novice season. 

It’s a good race. They will ask plenty of questions of him but there is nothing I would rather be on than Chacun Pour Soi in the race.

Appreciate It (13.45) was a very good bumper horse last year. His form from the maiden hurdle in Cork has really worked out with the second coming out and franking that form in good style in Cork as well.

Ballyadam is a Grade 1 winner. I thought the Royal Bond was a false enough run race. This will be more of a test, which could suit Ballyadam as much as us, but I like Appreciate It. We’ve seen plenty of him and he’s shown us what he can do.

Hybery (14.20) runs in a very competitive handicap. He has been running well without winning. He made a bad mistake early in Down Royal but came home well and again in Fairyhouse. He deserves his day but he’ll need a bit of luck in running. 

Castlebawn West (14.55) faces a big field in the 3m handicap chase but you would expect that for such a valuable pot.

He has a lot of weight but he has it for a reason. His run in Punchestown has worked out very well. He was beaten four lengths by Tornado Flyer who was just beaten by Min. 

If you carry top weight you are always vulnerable to something well handicapped but I think he will run a big race and Leopardstown will suit him.

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.