IT’S day three of the Cheltenham Festival and Cork jockey Paul Townend has another busy day at Prestbury Park with several top class rides to look forward to this afternoon.
Here he gives us his tips ahead of today’s racing, where he rides Faugheen, one of the leading contenders for glory.
“I start by riding Faugheen in the Marsh Novices’ Chase (1.30pm). He was so tough and gutsy when he won at Leopardstown the last day.
“All the stats are against him here but he is an exceptional horse and his record speaks for itself.
“Itchy Feet was good when he won at Sandown and Reserve Tank is another we have to be fearful of but I wouldn’t swap Faugheen. He has been such a special horse and if he were to win here, it would bring the house down.
“Willie Mullins runs a few more in race who just haven’t sparked. Melon wears cheekpieces for the first time over fences and that might help him focus.
“I ride Relegate in the Pertemps (2.10pm); a spare ride for Colm Murphy. She looks to have slipped in with a nice racing weight and she’s a former Champion Bumper winner. Willie used to train her and she’s had one run for Colm Murphy so far where she finished fourth at Punchestown. Colm seems very happy with her so we will take our chance.
“It is a competitive handicap and we will need plenty of luck in running but she could be laid out for this.
“Min is my next ride in the Ryanair Chase (2.50pm). He’s ever the bridesmaid at Cheltenham. Last year’s winner Frodon just doesn’t seem to be firing this year, although his win the last day will be a nice confidence booster.
“Riders Onthe Storm has done very well since coming to Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard but I am not sure his run the last day will be good enough to mix with A Plus Tard and Min.
“In the feature race, the Stayers’ Hurdle (3.30pm), I ride Penhill who has a good track record. He’s been getting a bit better at home throughout the season. It’ll be very hard to beat Paisley Park but I think he can run into a place. He seems to be the forgotten horse here.
“In the Plate (4.10pm), I am on Robin Des Foret. He had a cracker here on his first run of the season back in December. He travelled very sweetly.
“He hasn’t seen out his last three runs too well and I’d imagine we will be riding for a bit of luck.
“We would be delighted if he could run on into a place.
“In the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (4.50pm), I am on Colreevy. She found only Minella Melody too good for her at Fairyhouse.
“We get 5lbs off her this time so that will hopefully put them a bit closer together.”