Paul Townend previews rides at Sandown and Fairyhouse
Paul Townend savours Gauloise battle with Skyace at Sandown
Ladbrokes ambassador Paul Townend has just one runner in England on Saturday when Gauloise faces a tough duel with Skyace at Sandown, but he is back in Ireland on Sunday with four rides at Fairyhouse.
He took us through the prospects of all five of his rides this weekend.
I am making my maiden voyage across the Irish sea for 2022 on Saturday. I ride Gauloise in a listed Mares Hurdle at Sandown.
She seems in good form at home. The horses that Willie has brought across to England have been going really well so far so I hope I can keep that going.
She takes on Skyace again who she was runner up to in the Grade 1 at Fairyhouse last year. There isn’t much between them on that run.
Skyace has taken a heavy fall since and her form just seemed to have petered out albeit she’s been keeping good company. We are looking forward to another crack at her.
On ratings, Martello Sky looks the strongest of the English runners. She finished a couple of places ahead of us at Cheltenham when they met last year. I don’t think it was Gauloise’s true running that day. Martello Sky has improved from that so it is a good little race and I am looking forward to it.
I ride Feigh in a four-year-old hurdle first. She looked exciting when she won at Killarney at the start of the year. That wasn’t backed up at Listowel.
She ran OK behind the good juveniles at Fairyhouse then. I think White Pepper is the one we have to really take notice of and Britzka was an eye-catching third at Leopardstown as well so hopefully she can recapture her best form and run a nice race and get her season going after being disappointing.
She is a winner of two bumpers and ran well in two more. She lacks experience which Banntown Girl has. Hopefully, my horse can get the better of her. She is ultra-consistent and if there are any flaws in Brooklyn Glory, she is the one that will take advantage.
Blackbow has been keeping good company all last year, gaining some valuable experience following the likes of Energumene and Chantry House around.
Dropping back into handicap company, that experience will really stand him in good stead.
Dunvegan really loves it around Fairyhouse, with all his wins here so we have to take him really seriously. We just hope that Blackbow can deliver on the promise he showed as a bumper horse many seasons ago.
At nine, he’s not getting any younger but he has the experience which we hope will give him an edge.
I have gone with Saint Sam in the Beginners Chase. His form ties in closely with Zanahiyr and Jeff Kidder last year. He’s getting an allowance here being a five-year-old.
His schooling at home is going really well and he’s taken to fences. It wasn’t an easy decision to pick him over El Barra who ran really well behind Blue Lord. I have gone with the younger horse and hopefully I am right.