Paul Townend best festival rides – 2021 Cheltenham Festival tips
Paul Townend Cheltenham Festival rides
For so long in the shadow of Ruby Walsh as number two jockey to leading trainer Willie Mullins, Paul Townend has bloomed since taking up the mantle from the now-retired Walsh although he was a top jockey himself even before Welsh stepped down. Townend is sure to have plenty of winning chances throughout the four days of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival and we’ve picked out five Paul Townend rides who could give the Cork rider more success.
Three-times crowned champion Irish jumps jockey, leading Irish jockey Paul Townend has taken over the mantle of Willie Mullins’ stable jockey following the retirement of Ruby Walsh; while he was a top jockey in his own right he has grasped the thistle with both hands and with 13 Cheltenham Festival winners already under his belt few would bet against Townend being crowned Champion Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival for a second successive year.
Twelve months ago Townend rode five winners at the Cheltenham Festival and Mullins’ number one is sure to be spoiled for choice again this year given the Closutton handler’s strength in depth. We’ve looked through some of Townend’s most likely rides at the Festival and pick out five Paul Townend rides who could give the Cork rider his biggest chance of more Festival glory.
2021 CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TIPS – PAUL TOWNEND BEST FESTIVAL RIDES
Beaten just a short-head on her debut for Mullins in the 2019 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle following a move from France CONCERTISTA has progressed over hurdles and comes into this Grade One contest with a favourites’ chance.
It took the Nathaniel mare a while last term to get off the mark, but she did so in decisive fashion when going one better in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle where she ran out a twelve lengths’ victor over Dolcita and the Mullins-trained seven-year old is 2-2 thus far in the current campaign.
A win at Fairyhouse in a Grade Two contest on her seasonal debut has been backed up by a ready success in a Leopardstown Grade Three contest when last seen out where she beat Minella Melody by six lengths and she looks a solid contender to add further winning success to her tally in the day one Cheltenham Festival Grade One contest.
Although he’s yet to turn out at Cheltenham CHACUN POUR SOI has dominated the ante-post betting for the Cheltenham Festival day two feature race and it isn’t hard to see why.
Willie Mullins’ star headed the betting for the race twelve months ago but was an eleventh-hour scratching from the race along with Altior which left the door open for Politologue to storm up the hill to glory.
The Policy Maker gelding comes into the Champion Chase reckoning having been beaten just once over fences since joining the Mullins camp with that defeat coming behind the top-class A Plus Tard on his seasonal return last campaign. He’s 3-3 this term and was last seen brushing aside Fakir D’oudairies to win the Dublin Chase by eight lengths.
While it can’t be denied that previous experience of this venue would further enhance his claims he very much looks the one to beat given he has scope for better still although strong stayers such as Politologue and Altior likely won’t let him have his own way late on and both are likely to be finishing strongly.
He may have too much speed for both however and with both those rivals now at the veteran stage of their respective careers it might be the younger horse which comes out on top.
Brown Advisory Novices Chase
MONKFISH has already tasted Cheltenham Festival success having won last season’s Albert Bartlett Hurdle with a battling success over old foe Latest Exhibition, Fury Road and Thyme Hill who is well-fancied for the Stayers’ Hurdle this year.
The Stowaway gelding has however been switched to chasing this campaign where he’s won his three starts to date over the larger obstacle with aplomb, winning two Grade One races and having the measure of Latest Exhibition both times.
He was an easy winner of the Flogas Novice Chase when last seen, beating Latest Exhibition by 11 lengths with the rest further strung out and he rates the one they all have to beat in this competitive day three Cheltenham Festival Grade One prize that could throw up a future Gold Cup winner.
ALLAHO and Minella Indo traded plenty of punches over hurdles with Willie Mullins’ charge coming out on top at Clonmel before chasing home the same rival the next twice which include in the 2019 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
The No Risk At All gelding has proved himself a very smart chaser, winning last term at Fairyhouse and finishing a close third behind Champ and his old rival in the former RSA Chase.
He’s taken a couple of runs to hit form this campaign, running no sort of a race behind Min in the John Durkan Memorial Chase and then beaten twenty lengths into fourth in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown before striking gold at Thurles latest where he readily saw off stablemate Elimay in a Grade Two there.
It could be that the intermediate trip of the Ryanair Chase on day three of the Festival will suit him better than having a crack at the Gold Cup and he looks set for a big run in the third day feature.
It is perhaps an obvious selection with AL BOUM PHOTO chasing a third straight win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – the feature race on day four of the Festival – and it would come as no surprise to see the Buck’s Boum back in the winners’ enclosure again.
Townend has ridden the nine-year old to his past two Chetenham Gold Cup successes and the lightly-raced chaser is still relatively low mileage despite his years. He’s following the same path this term as he did in each of the past two seasons, warming up for Cheltenham by taking in and winning a Grade Three contest at Tramore prior to the Festival and he most recently took that race with an easy 20 lengths’ victory over Acapella Bourgeois.
His last Cheltenham Gold Cup success saw him score by a neck from Santini, but crucially he also had a few of his likely rivals in arrears also and he’s likely to prove a tough nut to crack as he bids for his hat-trick in the race and join a select band of triple winners.