Paul Townend previews his rides at Punchestown this weekend
It’s a big weekend over two busy days at Punchestown on Saturday and Sunday when some of the stable’s more familiar names will be in action.
Asterion Forlonges (11.45) is an exciting horse starting out in a beginners’ chase.
He did nothing wrong until going to Cheltenham last year where he jumped violently right, but still ran a big race in the Supreme to lead them into the straight despite doing everything wrong up to that point.
I think we will see the best of him over fences and it will be brilliant to get his chasing career off to the best start possible.
School Boy Hours has the benefit of a run behind Latest Exhibition. That was a good run around here so he will be hard to beat, but we are looking forward to this.
Willie has seven in the handicap chase and I have gone for Tornado Flyer (12.50). It was a hard decision to sort them all out.
Tornado Flyer was a decent bumper horse. I just feel we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He had decent Grade 1 form last year and that often can play to a horse’s strengths dropping back into a handicap.
He has a lot of weight and is joint top weight but hopefully there will be a bit of improvement in him.
It was hard to get off Salsaretta who has done nothing wrong and keeps winning over fences. I had it narrowed down to the two of them in the end and hopefully I’ve chosen right. If not, maybe one of Willie’s other ones can land this valuable prize.
Dark Voyager (1.25) lines up in a hot race. We were happy with him in Ballinrobe, though disappointed to get beat, but I think we ran into a decent one that day.
He jumped well and hopefully he can improve for his first run over hurdles. Whatever wins this will be a force to be reckoned with for the rest of the season.
Gaillard Du Mesnil (2.35) was busy in France before he got a year off. He’s a horse we like but it’s hard to know where we are with him. He seems to be doing everything nicely at home. His best form in France was on slow ground so conditions shouldn’t be a worry.
Buildmeupbuttercup (1.05) is my first ride. She has been very consistent.
She probably doesn’t want the ground as soft as it will be but we can’t do anything about that. She has won her last two over hurdles on better ground. She will be there or thereabouts but the ground is a worry.
Willie’s other runner Ellmay will be much more suited by the ground conditions but we are fit from racing in the summer and hopefully Buildmeupbuttercup will put up a nice performance again. We haven’t seen Daylight Katie in a year but she looked very good when we did see her last.
Fighter Allen (2.50) is a half-brother to Envoi Allen who had one run in Naas last year for Gordon Elliott. We have him this year.
He’s a nice horse and we are excited to get him out on the track. He is one I am really looking forward to.
The trip shouldn’t be a worry for him. It’s a competitive maiden which you expect at this time of year but we will know where we are with him after Sunday.