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Paul Townend on Leopardstown, New Year’s Day at Tramore and Al Boum Photo

| 31.12.2020

It was a brilliant three days at Leopardstown. The horses hit form at the right time. It’s nice when everything clicks together like that. We had a good team of horses going there and when your luck is in, things fall right for you.

Chacun Pour Soi got the ball rolling. I thought it was a hell of a performance. He was doing it so easy throughout the whole race and idled up the straight. I was confident if there was a horse coming with me, I had plenty left under the bonnet.

I think he is the one to beat in the Champion Chase now. It’s an open enough division at the moment. He’s attempted to get to Cheltenham a few times. He was there last year and didn’t get to run. We take every day as it comes with him. He’s hugely exciting in that division.

Appreciate It surprised us in how well he did it over two miles. That opens a lot more doors to him. He showed a good turn of foot off the bend and he’ll stay too. He was a high class bumper horse and his switch to hurdling has brought about a bit of improvement.

The Big Getaway is huge. He is well named. Chasing is his game and he left behind a poor run in Navan over fences. The theme over Christmas was how much our horses improve from their first run to their second and he was as good an example of that as any of them.

On the final day Concertista produced a hell of a performance in a true run mares race. She has so much speed, but she showed how well she stays as well. The good horses usually cope with everything that’s thrown at them and she did that. I was delighted to be able to ride her with Daryl Jacob being in England. She is a real force this season.

Monkfish gave away experience to a very good horse of Paul Nolan’s in Latest Exhibition. I think the two of them are two very high class horses, at this stage of their careers anyway. Hopefully they can keep improving and building on it with age and experience.

I got a great feel off Monkfish. He couldn’t have done any more. He showed guts and when Bryan Cooper rocked up outside me down to the last, he was brave and stuck it out well to the line.

That brings me to New Year’s Day at Tramore where the double Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo returns.

I start with Mr Coldstone (12.20) who hasn’t been on the track in a long time. He had three runs on the Flat. His runs have been on good ground. His schooling has been fine. We would be hoping he will make a nice jumper and this is a nice place to start off.

Gorki D’airy (13.27) should handle the ground well. He ran over a mile and six on the Flat in France on heavy ground so the trip and the ground shouldn’t be any worries.

Al Boum Photo (14.37) is back at Tramore for a third time. I was happy enough that  Monalee didn’t turn up as we had to give him plenty of weight.

There are others that are classy enough in their own right with opponents like Acapella Bourgeois, Brahma Bull and Djingle, who will make sure there is a bit of pace in the race.

Al Boum Photo is a dual Gold Cup winner so hopefully he will win again so the race can set him up for Cheltenham like it has for the last couple of years.

It will be exciting to get back on him on the track. He’s always exciting to ride. He’s a horse close to my heart with what he’s done for me.

We are going down there with the horses in good form. We couldn’t be happier with where we are at the moment. It’s a big bonus. It would be a bad Christmas if we were going to Tramore under a bit of pressure, but we are full of confidence.

Hopefully Al Boum Photo can have a safe trip round, come back in front and be looking confidently towards Cheltenham.




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.