Paul Townend's Punchestown Picks For Day 1 Of The Festival

Paul Townend's Punchestown Picks For Day 1 Of The Festival
Kevin Dowling
By Kevin Dowling
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One of Ireland's biggest horse racing festival is on this week: Punchestown is back with many great horses, jockeys and trainers. It's the grande finale of the jump season is finally here and there's plenty of races to look forward to. This is one of the most important week for Irish horse racing. got the tips from one of the best jockeys in action at Punchestown, Paul Townend. He is the lead jockey of the great Willie Mullins who's have a lot of wins in his big career. The Kilkenny jockey also mentioned how important this is for anyone racing for Willie Mullins, describing Punchestown as 'Willie's playground':

It's an important week for everyone but especially when you're attached to Willie's [Mullins] team. It's kind of Willie's playground.

Paul Townend's Punchestown tips

In an interview with recently retired jockey Bryan Cooper, Townend gave his thoughts on the 2023 Punchestown festival.

He's pick of the week goes for Galopin Des Champs in the Ladbrokes Gold Cup. The French horse is in excellent form as his won his last three races. Victories in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, Irish Gold Cup and Cheltenham means that Galopin Des Champs will enter this race as a big favourite. Paul Townend talked about the Ladbrokes Gold Cup saying:

Galopin Des Champs in the Ladbrokes Gold Cup is going to be huge. Coming back from Cheltenham, he seems to be the full package this year. It's probably the biggest race this week, he's probably one of my biggest rides, in Cheltenham he was. It's good to have a big bullet to fire in the big races.


As for the first day of racing, in the Champion Novices Hurdle Race, there's a lot of good horses here but one seems above the others. Facile Vega is Townsend's favourite despite a disappointing second place in Cheltenham:


We were a bit disappointed he got beat at Cheltenham. Marine Nationale was very good on the day. We're on a bit of a retrieval with Facile [Vega] now. Diverge ran a big race at Cheltenham and he'll go there. Impaire Et Passe is also entering the race. It wouldn't be unlike Willie [Mullins] to drop  him back a trip and find out where we going next year. Facile Vega looks the obvious one to go there, different day, might get a different result.

He's a strong favourite, running around 4/7 with most bookies.

Energumene is Townend's favourite to win the Champion Chase at 17.25. Energumene is a heavy favourite, around 1/3 most places


He ran away with the Champions Chase this year, two English horses probably didn't turn up on the day. If he is anything near his best he looks like he can take care of them. He looks to be the standout two mile chaser in Ireland and England.

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