Irish champion jump jockey Paul Townend has a strong book of rides at Gowran Park and Navan this weekend, live on Racing TV, including Grade One-winning hurdler Minella Cocooner who makes his chasing debut in the 12.00pm on Saturday. Read what the Ladbrokes ambassador has to say about his rides below.
Horse: MINELLA COCOONER.
Race: 12.00 Gowran Park
He is a Grade One winner over hurdles last year at the Dublin Racing Festival. He went on to back that up with two solid efforts behind The Nice Guy at Cheltenham and Punchestown. We are dropping back to over two-and-a-half miles over fences here as he was very forward going last year over three-miles. This looks a lovely place to start him. Willie Mullins has decided to let three run here. Classic Getaway was disappointing last season. His best run was his last run at the Punchestown Festival. It looks like he will make a nicer chaser than a hurdler. Whatdeawant is a strong stayer as well. He looked to have a big future after winning his maiden at Navan last year over two-and-a-half miles. Again, he looks more of a chaser. I just hope I am on the right one, we always thought going over fences might help him. He is my best ride of the day.
Horse: SPANISH HARLEM.
Race: 1.40 Gowran Park.
Spanish Harlem is a new recruit who I ride in the 2m Novice Hurdle. He was a good winner on his only start in Auteuil on heavy ground over 2m2f. He came from a long way back that day so showed a good attitude. He looked to stay very well and hopefully he will adapt to the Irish way of running. Imagine for Gordon Elliott turns out quite quick after finishing second to Hercule Du Seuil at Navan a few weeks ago. It was a good solid performance and he was staying on well and he looks like a horse that will handle heavy ground. Inothewayurthinkin was a smart winner at Cork beating me on Lot Of Joy that day. I was very taken by him and I think he is one to keep on the right side for the season ahead. We like our horse Spanish Harlem. He is showing us the right signs at home and he has to be smart after his Auteuil performance.
Horse: PINK IN THE PARK.
Race: 2.15 Gowran Park.
Her form with The Model Kingdom, Nikini, and all them cluster of mares that kept running into each other last year has been franked so far this season. The Model Kingdom won last weekend and Nikini was running so well at Down Royal at the Ladbrokes Festival. Our horse has been very consistent in bumpers, been schooled well, and I think she will be a smart sort over hurdles this year. Kalanisi Star will give us a lot to do. His bumper form when he beat Monbeg Park at Gowran in March has been well boosted since. He won at the weekend and warrants plenty of respect, but I couldn’t be happier with our horse.
Horse: ENCHANTED MAGIC
Race: 2.50 Gowran Park.
A course winner when trained by Eoin Doyle last year on heavy ground at Gowran. It’s only his second run, into a handicap off a mark of 120. It could be a fair mark for him. He is a fine, big horse and we will see where we are going. He lacks experience taking on seasoned handicappers. He looks nicely treated but we have top weight and it will be hard to give away weight.
Horse: GRANGECLARE WEST.
Race: 12.50 Navan.
He is a horse we like a lot. He came with a big reputation, won his bumper really well for us, but hasn’t been seen in a long time since. His schooling has gone well at home and we think he could have a very bright future over hurdles this season. It is a good race, including Henry De Bromhead’s Kudasheva who won a point-to-point back in March. He warrants a lot of respect. So does Gordon Elliott’s Firm Footings who is fit from winning a bumper at Galway in October. Gordon’s horses are flying. It is a deep race and I think a lot of winners will come out of it. We really like our lad and hopefully he has a bright future over hurdles and he is my pick of the day here.
Horse: FIGHTER ALLEN.
Race: 2.20 Navan.
I ride Fighter Allen in the Troytown which looks very competitive and open. He was ultimately very disappointing in the North but it should have brought him on. He was too fresh and too keen and got very tired on that occasion. With that run under his belt, I hope it will leave him right for this. He has been a little bit disappointing; he was well fancied at Punchstown and only got as far as the first so we won’t try and repeat that. If he does everything right, we should be able to hit the frame.
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