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Paul Townend Blog - Key quotes on his rides on day two at Leopardstown

Last updated: 03 Feb 2024
John Eastwood 03 Feb 2024
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  • Key quotes from Paul Townend's blog with bookmakers Ladbrokes
  • Townend has six big rides on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival
  • Paul talks about State Man, El Fabiolo, Gaelic Warrior and more here
Paul Townend riding Galopin Des Champs win The Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. (Getty)

After a good day for the stable on Saturday, Willie Mullins' stable jockey Paul Townend exclusively told Ladbrokes about his big rides on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Gaelic Warrior 1.10 – Leopardstown

Gaelic Warrior steps up to the 2m5f race, the Ladbrokes Novice Chase. Obviously, there was talk of going for the shorter race, but he steps up here. There are five declared including Found A Fifty, but I would imagine he is just stuck in here for fear something goes wrong early in the Arkle and he has a backup plan. Of the others, American Mike and Fact To File met at Navan earlier in the year, and American Mike beat him that day. Fact To File has stepped forward a lot to win over c&d at Christmas, while American Mike ran at Limerick behind Gaelic Warrior and was beaten by 25l.

Going left-handed at the Dublin Racing Festival is obviously a concern for Gaelic Warrior, although he has won around the course at the festival over hurdles last year in a handicap and hopefully he behaves himself. The more runs he’s gets the more manageable he is. He is a very exciting novice chaser. Unfortunately I can only ride one in the race, which means I can’t ride Grangeclare West, who was a very impressive Grade 1 winner over three miles at Christmas. He has really taken to fences and I was looking forward to riding him again but it’s not to be. He is dropping back in trip, whereas Gaelic Warrior is going up in trip. I love the way Grangeclare West won and I think he will play a hand in the race but it’ll probably be a stiffer task than it was in December. My horse is not the most straight forward of characters, but he has a lot of ability and I am looking forward to riding him.

Ballyburn 1.40 – Leopardstown

Ballyburn was turned over in his maiden hurdle over 2m at Fairyhouse, but stepped up in trip to a maiden at Leopardstown and ended up winning by 25l. The horse that was second to him has franked the form and has won since. He is a really exciting horse and I am not concerned about going back to two miles. I think the day we got beat at Fairyhouse, it was a bit of mickey mouse gallop, a bit of a dash off the bend and the horse in front, Firefox, had the advantage…he was race fit. We take on Farren Glory who was a good winner of the Royal Bond. He took a very heavy fall at Aintree when it looked like he was going to win easily. I think he will be a tough nut to crack. King Of Kingsfield was very close to Farren Glory in the Royal Bond and then came out and turned over a very short priced favourite at Leopardstown. You also have Daddy Long Legs who I rode in the Grade1 Novice Hurdle at Christmas. He never turned up and was beaten after jumping one hurdle. I have put a line through that as the ground got very soft on the day and I judge him more on his maiden hurdle. He is doing things nicely at home and I hope he can run a nicer race. I am very happy to have Ballyburn and he deserves to go off favourite.

El Fabiolo – 2.10 Leopardstown

I ride El Fabiolo in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase. He was rerouted here from the cancelled Clarence House Chase. He didn’t go to Cheltenham and their loss is Leopardstown’s gain. He has only had one run out of novice company in a Grade 2 at Cork. He has won around the course and looks to be the best two-mile chaser around. Jonbon blotted his copy book last week. It’s no easy task taking on Dinoblue who was very impressive at Christmas. She is an improving mare and gets the 7lbs mares’ allowance. Captain Guinness blew out at Christmas, but I would put a line through that poor run. I think Gentleman De Mee will take a big step forward and he can get closer to Dinoblue. Remember, Dinoblue had the run going into that race, and Gentleman De Mee didn’t and he won at the meeting last year. However, El Fabiolo is the one they must beat.

State Man 2.45 – Leopardstown

I ride State Man in the Champion Hurdle, where he takes on Impaire Et Passe and Echoes In Rain. Bob Olinger adds a nice bit of spice to the race and looked back to himself in recent outings. It will be interesting to see him taking on these. He adds an extra layer to the race tactically and competitively. It will be a tricky race. I wonder if Fil D’oudairies will make the running again. Fortunately, I am riding State Man and he is so straightforward. I can kind of do what I want on him. I enjoy being a part of these tactical races and it will be an interesting one to try and workout. Everything about State Man is positive and I am sure he can show his superiority in this division. He is my best ride of the day and is one of my favourite horses.

James Du Berlais – 3.20 Leopardstown

I ride James Du Berlais in the Leopardstown Chase. He ran a cracker here last time out for a long time. He drops back in trip here which I think will help him and if he can get into the same rhythm as he did at Christmas, I think he will take a bit of beating. He got a couple of pounds for that run the last day and this is very competitive. You can make a case for any amount of them in this huge field.

Bialystok 3.50 – Leopardstown

He has been a little disappointing to be honest. He promised a lot when we got him. He won at the Punchestown Festival but had a few poor runs throughout the summer but ran better than expected in the Royal Bond. He was beaten less than 3l in a Grade 1 and off his mark he could be competitive here. We will need a lot of luck. He is a horse we tend to hold up in his races and to find our way through 22 of them will not be easy. With a bit of luck we will be going into the race with a lot of confidence after riding a few winners over the weekend. If the ball is bouncing for us, you never what could happen.

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