Jody Townend makes it a magical week for Lisgoold racing royalty

East Cork native and her brother Paul enjoyed a great Punchestown Festival
Jody Townend makes it a magical week for Lisgoold racing royalty

Adamantly Chosen, with Jody Townend up, race up the home straight ahead of eventual second Springwell Bay, Derek O'Connor up, at Punchestown Racecourse. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

JODY TOWNEND crowned a remarkable season by claiming the Champion Ladies Title with a Punchestown winner this week.

There will be double joy in the Townend family with her brother Paul also in pole position to be crowned Champion Rider.

With the national hunt season officially winding down it will be very special for the family, as Jody’s hard work and brilliance in the saddle has brought her right to the top of the game.

“To be honest it really hasn’t sunk in at all yet. To be riding these good horses for a trainer like Willie Mullins is the stuff of dreams for an amateur rider. I can’t believe it and to ride a winner at the Punchestown Festival made it extra special. Adamantly Chosen was brilliant on the day so it was a great way to way to seal the jockeys’ title.

“I’ll have to check if a brother and sister have ever won in the same year but I don’t think they have. Everything has just worked out brilliantly all season from starting off on the flat and winning the Ladies Derby on Princess Zoe at the Curragh.

“She went on to win a Group 1 on the flat at Longchamp so she was a real classy mare. Undoubtedly riding a couple of winners for my father Timmy on Port Rashid was a great kick also. He was the horse that gave me my first ever winner on the track so he is just such a star horse for us. He is a favourite at home and dad rides him out at home every day.”

Adamantly Chosen and Jody Townend with groom Lara Tedstone after their win for trainer Willie Mullins. Picture: Healy Racing.
Adamantly Chosen and Jody Townend with groom Lara Tedstone after their win for trainer Willie Mullins. Picture: Healy Racing.

Townend has proved her brilliance all year and is bound to pick up plenty of quality rides at the summer festivals like Tramore, Killarney, Galway and Listowel. Jody is brilliant in a finish and her judge of pace is top class.

“The summer racing festivals are so important for getting a winner or two on the board. For a young rider like myself coming through it’s just great to get experience at these big meetings. The hustle and bustle of races is what helps you become a better rider tactically.

“The ladies races at the big flat meetings also provide great opportunities so hopefully I’ll get on a few nice ones after having such a good year. Riding a winner on television at a meeting like the Curragh or Punchestown really raises your profile and trainers decide to give rides in these big races as a result.”

She never lacked confidence in the saddle and under the careful tutelage of her father began a career in racing which has resulted in her joining forced with her brother Paul at the Willie Mullins base in Carlow.

“It was always horses growing up and dad was very patient when I was keen to become a jockey. Obviously, Paul was a great help also and let’s just say the constructive criticism was always taken on board in the right spirit. He is always there for me to be fair and not everyone can turn to the Champion Jockey to ask him a question.

“Experience is the key to success in this game and Paul has all that.

“To see Rachael Blackmore do what she has done is brilliant.

Of course, I was shouting on Paul for the Jockeys Title but Rachael is such a brilliant rider and a lovely person also. 

"She deserves all the luck in the world and has been an inspiration to so many people this season. Her achievements make her a real role model for any jockey, male or female.”

Paul Townend arrived back in time from injury this week and edged closer to a fourth career title. Chacun Pour Soi was spectacular and his victory in the Champion Chase earlier in the week and made up for the disappointment of Cheltenham.

Paul Townend heading for the finishing line. Picture: Healy Racing
Paul Townend heading for the finishing line. Picture: Healy Racing

It was one of the performances of the week as he beat his stablemate Allaho who was ridden by Rachael Blackmore. It was a significant victory on so many levels and it meant so much to the rider who always speaks with such emotion about this horse.

“It’s some thrill riding a horse like him around here over two miles and jumping won the race for him. At the back of every fence I was able to get a breather, he was jumping so well. The only reason we don’t wear these boots normally is for weight and I’d like to thank everyone who did a lot of hard work to get me back.”

Cork man and former rails bookmaker Joe Donnelly has some lovely horses in training and Galopin Des Champs was another crucial winner for Townend midweek. Although Al Boum Photo finished runner-up to Clan Des Obeaux the victory of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys´ Handicap Hurdle hero Galopin Des Champs in the Grade One Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle was another significant victory in the title race.

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