Townend Chases Kennedy

99 wins for the season from 399 rides

With three months to go in the Irish National Hunt season, Paul Townend is making a determined bid to catch Jack Kennedy and retain his jockey’s title.

The 24-year-old Kennedy has first call at the Gordon Elliott stable and currently sits on 99 wins for the season from 399 rides.

Paul Townend aims to retain his title (Pic – Racing Post)

With Elliott having enjoyed a fine run of form over the last three months it looked like this highly rated young rider had an unassailable lead, but over the last fortnight that has all changed.

Six-time Irish NH champion Paul Townend is literally ‘flying’ in 2024, narrowing the gap on the leader to just twelve.

With 87 victories from 217 rides, including 14 from his last 20 rides over the last fortnight, Townend looks determined to defend his title.

Over the weekend Townend showed his quality aboard the Willie Mullins raider Capodanno in the Gr2 Paddy Power Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.

Held up at the back of the field in a strongly run race, Capodanno was given time to recover from a slow jump early on before making up ground on his rivals in the final third, to lead two out.

He stayed on well under a strong ride to win going away from pacemaker, The Real Whacker with favourite Stay Away Fay in third.

“I thought Paul was very good tactically on Capodanno,” Mullins stated post-race.

Backed into 7/2 second favourite on Saturday morning from an opening call of 8/1, the John McManus owned eight-year-old will now head for the Festival in April.

Exciting young hurdler Lossiemouth provided Townend and Willie Mullins with a feature double when easily accounting for the smart mare Love Envoi in the Unibet Hurdle. Again, Townend gave his mount a chance and held her up in rear for much of the contest.

When asked to race from three out, she made rapid headway to lead at the last, before running out a near 10-length winner.

The Group 2 victory was so professional and impressive, that you have to think Townend might well pick to ride her over State Man if she were aimed at the Champion Hurdle.

“Lossiemouth has improved nicely and did it well,” reported Mullins. “We took a chance and waited with her this season, and it seems to have done her good.”

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