Willie Mullins has four runners at Naas today and with Paul Townend leading the Irish Jumps Jockeys’ championship from Rachael Blackmore and Davy Russell, he’ll ride a couple in the maiden hurdles to hopefully keep the winners ticking over for him.
It’s been the same for the last few weeks. If I take the rides I’d only stop Paul’s chance of winning it.
Paul rides Face the Facts in the opener, who is making his debut over hurdles. He goes well at home and the 2m 3f trip should suit him.
He ran over two miles on the Flat and when I rode him at work the other morning, he definitely rides more like a stayer than a speed horse.
We’d be expecting him to put in a good show.
Duc Des Genievres runs in the beginners’ chase and is a nice horse who has schooled very well at home. I’ve schooled him both mornings recently and he’s very quick, very accurate. Fences should suit him and he has improved a bit from last year.
He doesn’t have to improve too much to be in the mix here as his novice hurdle form is strong.
We’d be hopeful that he can make a winning start.
The one I do ride is Relegate in the mares’ maiden hurdle. There may be 25 runners, but it looks a match between her and Jessica Harrington’s Barrington Court, who looked very good at Navan when winning a Listed bumper recently.
Relegate has had a run over hurdles while Barrington Court hasn’t. We’re happy with Relegate and think she has improved a good bit since her debut at Punchestown. However, she is definitely a stayer so the 2m trip is a slight concern for her.
Some of our bumper horses have been hitting the crossbar a bit lately but Pont Aval is fit, ready to run and will give a good account of herself.
I don’t know if she’s a superstar in the making or anything like that and she could be better when she goes jumping and gets a longer trip.