PAUL Townend has had another fantastic season.
The Lisgoold ace will be officially crowned Champion Irish National Hunt Jockey for the fifth consecutive season on Saturday on the final day of the Punchestown Festival.
Lossiemouth, winner of the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, should complete a memorable season on the final day at Punchestown in the Grade One Ballymore Champion 4Y0 Hurdle.
Lossiemouth's only defeat was an unlucky loss to old adversary Gala Marceau at the Dublin Racing Festival. She reversed that form in Cheltenham and the third horse has since advertised the form with a win at Aintree. Lossiemouth can provide Rich Ricci with success in a race he won last year with Vauban.
The concluding race of the Punchestown Festival is the traditional charity race, the Have The Conversation Say Yes To Organ Donation Punchestown Charity Race now in its 32nd year it has raised close to €2 million. On Saturday Jessica Harrington is likely to have a huge say in the destiny of this race as she runs the 2022 Cork derby winner Hell Bent who with a rating of 91 might be difficult to peg back. He loves to front run and with the yard in terrific form, he can shrug off a 325-day absence.
Jessie also has the 97-rated Jungle Cove as a possible candidate, provided he stays the trip. However, both his wins have come over a mile so he will be entering unknown territory on Saturday. There is likely to be a strong gallop with Effernock Fizz and Hell Bent set to race prominently.
The UK National Hunt Season also concludes at Sandown Park with The Celebration Chase the highlight. Jonbon tests his credentials against the older brigade, Champion Chase runner-up Captain Guinness and Greaneteen, third in Cheltenham. Greaneteen bids for a third consecutive victory but faces a formidable test with Jonbon and Captain Guinness expected to dominate at the business end.
As the Punchestown Festival concludes it signals the end of another memorable National Hunt Season with over €3.3 million In prize money on offer this week across the forty races The festival is reportedly worth €25 million to the local economy in the Kildare area and continues to prosper as one of the best sporting events in this country.
As the National Hunt campaign concludes, thoughts quickly turn to the first of the season's classics on the flat next weekend at Newmarket. Aguste Rodin will look to land another 2,000 Guineas for Aidan O'Brien when he crosses swords with stable companion Little Big Bear. Chaldean and Sakheer will be the hopes of the home team. The early chat suggests if there is to be a superstar three-year-old this season then Aguste Rodin might be the real deal.