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Paul Townend Blog - Key quotes on his rides at Leopardstown on Saturday

02 Feb 2024
John Eastwood 02 Feb 2024
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  • Key quotes from Paul Townend's blog with bookmakers Ladbrokes
  • Townend has four big rides on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival
  • Paul talks about Predators Gold, Facile Vega, Storm Heart and Galopin Des Champs
Paul Townend leopardstown
Paul Townend celebrates after riding Galopin Des Champs to win The Savills Chase at Leopardstown. (Getty)

Willie Mullins' stable jockey, Paul Townend exclusively told Ladbrokes about his big rides on on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

1:20pm Leopardstown - Predators Gold

I start the Dublin Racing Festival by riding Predators Gold in the Novice Hurdle (1.20). He was runner up in a Grade 1 here at Christmas to Caldwell Potter. He steps back up in trip here after winning a maiden hurdle over 2m3f at Punchestown and I think that step up will really help him. A lot of horses in here are on the improve. Loughglynn has stepped forward massively from his maiden hurdle to his graded win at Limerick, and he is a horse going the right way. I think Jetara from the Harrington yard has gained a lot of experience and is back against the geldings here, but that means she gets a 7lbs mares’ allowance and she won’t be back number either. This race can throw up a funny result. I have gone for Predators Gold because of the feel I got off him in the maiden hurdle and he has experience at the top level. It’s a decent Grade 1 and it will be no surprise if one of the others comes out and beats me, but I am happy with my decision.

1:50pm Leopardstown - Storm Heart

We have a lot of runners in the Spring Juvenile Grade 1 (1.50) and it wasn’t an easy decision picking. I have gone with Storm Heart. I found it hard to leave him behind as I got a lovely feel off him when he won his maiden. He quickened up really smartly that day. He only has that one run to call upon I suppose, whereas a lot of these have a bit more experience. I hope my lad can step forward and I think he can. Highwind impressed me when Sean O’Keeffe won a maiden on him at Punchestown. Jumping will have to sharpen up but his schooling had been very good before that and I think he will have learnt a lot from the mistake he made at the last. I think he is a high-class horse. But Storm Heart is the juvenile I have won on and I liked him a lot.

2:25pm Leopardstown - Facile Vega

I ride Facile Vega in the Arkle. A change of plan has seen Gaelic Warrior go for the longer distance on Sunday. I suppose we didn’t call upon a bad substitute in Facile Vega. We know how good he can be on his day. Unfortunately his day hasn’t been as often as we thought it be when he was a bumper horse, but he is definitely better than his run at Christmas. His work has been very good and I have schooled him since. He ticks a lot of boxes for this weekend and hopefully he can step up to the plate. He takes on Marine Nationale who beat us in the Supreme at Cheltenham last year. He is going to be a hard nut to crack but I still retain a lot of faith in Facile Vega. Found A Fifty was the winner of that Grade 1 at Christmas and he is thrown in there. He has probably been forgotten about in this race a little bit, and we have to reverse a lot of form from the last day and I am willing to give him another chance.

3:35pm Leopardstown - Galopin Des Champs

My last ride is Galopin Des Champs, where just the four runners go to post in this Irish Gold Cup. He takes on Conflated and I Am Maximus who we beat at Christmas. Fastorslow was a non-runner that day and has beaten us on the last two occasions we’ve met. We are hoping for some sweet revenge. Nothing to report only positives for Galopin Des Champs and I can’t wait to get back up on him. He seems to be in brilliant form. This is the biggest race of the day and he is my best ride of the day.

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