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Paul Townend previews his weekend rides at Naas and Punchestown

| 12.02.2021

Last weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival was almost the perfect two days. It’s very rare for things to go as well as they did.

The majority of the horses that should have won won, like Chacun Pour Soi, Energumene, Appreciate It and Monkfish, so it was a special weekend. As a result of some of the performances we saw, things are very exciting going forward.

Even my sister Jody got in on the act, winning the Grade 2 bumper, so it was a happy weekend for the Townend household.

It’s impossible to say which horse impressed me most. It’s like picking your favourite child. They were all impressive in their own right. We had different types of horses producing different types of performances in their races. I couldn’t single one out.

To be honest the races were all quite straightforward, which was brilliant. It was good to get the first one out of the way.

Gaillard Du Mesnil was the first bullet to fire. That was a tactical race, but it worked out well with him winning impressively in the end. That was an important one to get the weekend off to a good start.

Saturday rides at Naas

It will be a much quieter weekend at Naas on Saturday and Punchestown on Sunday.

I start on Captain Kangaroo (12.35) who has been slow enough at picking up things. He’s had a few goes in maidens now but the form of his last race has worked out really well.

The third and fourth have gone out and won since so I think the penny is dropping with him. He managed to beat Kilcruit in a bumper so that isn’t bad form. It looks like a nice opportunity.

Henry de Bromhead’s horse Hurricane Cliff is probably the main opponent on known form but I’d be disappointed if Captain Kangaroo can’t go one better than his last run on the same course.

Yukon Lil (13.40) has to leave a disappointing performance in Thurles behind her from the last day and she has plenty to find. Her run in Navan two runs ago wasn’t bad but she is a novice taking on open mares company here.

She is open to improvement and has a nice pull at the weights but has plenty to find with Shattered Love and Elimay.

Sunday rides at Punchestown

Power Of Pause (14.00) is my first ride at Punchestown. He’s been a consistent horse, finishing third behind Dreal Deal and Ganapathi.

I liked Noel Meade’s horse Thedevilscoachman when he won in Cork. He got turned over in Leopardstown and won really well next time in Navan. He will give us plenty to think about.

The American horse French Light has plenty to find and Fire Attack is coming back off a fall. It looks a nice opportunity but he will have to bring his A-game to beat Thedevilscoachman.

Pont Aval (14.30) never got going in her maiden in Limerick on very heavy ground over two and a half miles. I pulled her up halfway.

That was probably too bad to be true but she has to improve an awful lot from that. We are hoping she can but that was a very below par run last time.

Jungle Boogie (15.00) was a good winner of a bumper in November. This looks like a nice opportunity for him. The form of that race has worked out okay as well so hopefully we can get off to a nice start over hurdles with this lad.