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2020 Galway Festival news - Paul Townend discusses his rides for the week

  • Top jockey Paul Townend spoke to Ladbrokes about this week's Galway Festival
  • The two-time Gold Cup winner will have some big rides for Willie Mullins this week
  • The Galway Festival starts on Tuesday 27th July, and ends on Sunday 2nd August
  • Townend is looking forward to rides on the likes of Easy Game, Aramon and French-bred debutante, N'Golo
paul townend
Paul Townend and Willie Mullins celebrating their Gold Cup triumph at the Cheltenham Festival. (Getty)

Willie Mullins' leading jockey, Paul Townend spoke to Ladbrokes this weekend and covered his top rides at this week's Galway Festival.

The highlight of the summer for Irish racing fans is almost upon us, with the seven-day Galway Festival due to start this afternoon.

On the eve of another spectacular meeting, top jockey Paul Townend spoke to Ladbrokes and discusses all things Galway.

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"It will be a strange week as Galway is known for the atmosphere." Townend said on Saturday. "Once you get up on the horse and out on the track you don’t see or hear that so the racing itself will be as competitive as ever. We can’t complain as we are lucky to be there."

After a short introduction, Townend got stuck into his top rides at the 2020 Galway Festival. Considering he's the retained jockey for Irish Champion Trainer, Willie Mullins, the two-time Gold Cup winning jockey is bound to visit the winners' enclosure at some point this week.

"Looking straight to the Galway Plate, Easy Game and Royal Rendezvous look the two standout horses for us. Easy Game brings great Grade 1 form from last year beating Allaho in a Beginners Chase and then running Faugheen so close at the Dublin Racing Festival. He has plenty of weight with 11-6, so that won’t make his task any easier but he has it for a reason."

"Royal Rendezvous has a lovely racing weight of 10-12. He ran in a couple of the good two-mile Grade 1’s last year without featuring but the mark he’s off could be workable and my choice is probably between the two of them at the moment."

"The two of them are both winners around Galway which is a big plus as well."

"In the Galway Hurdle, I have a choice between Aramon who was obviously very impressive at Tipperary. That surprised us a little bit in terms of the manner in which he won. He had a great run at Cheltenham behind Saint Roi as well but it’s very hard to see him winning with all the weight off a mark of 155. It looks a hard task and I’m not sure he’s ever won going right-handed, albeit he hasn’t tried too many times either."

"Buildmeupbuttercup always runs a good race in these big handicaps. She’s a course winner on the flat last year and she has a nice racing weight, but probably isn’t the strongest of finishers in the world which isn’t ideal for Galway. You’d be riding her for a bit of luck and you’d imagine all things going well you’d have a chance going down to the last and see what happens after that."

paul townend
Paul Townend salutes the crowd at Cheltenham after winning the Triumph Hurdle on Burning Victory. (Getty)

"Canardier has had one run for us. He was running a cracker when he fell at the last at Cheltenham and he could be open to a little bit of improvement. He is probably the least proven of ours going into the race."

"I rode Shanning in the race last year. I fancied her for that race but she didn’t get a clear run that day so we will give it another go this year."

"Between the four of them, I still haven’t made up my mind as to who I will ride. We don’t have to make a decision for a couple of days. We will probably leave it until the last minute and factor in the weather, ground and all things like that."

"We have a nice horse for a maiden hurdle in N’Golo. He came from France and will start off his hurdling career at Galway. We have Bon Retour who has a mark of 121 and coming from France as well. I don’t know if she will go for a maiden or a handicap at Galway yet but we like her. The other handicaps are all still up in the air but we have a big team going there and we hope to bring home some of the prizes anyway."

With that amount of ammunition at his disposal, Townend will surely be gunning for the Top Jockey award at the Galway Festival.

"It would be nice to win Leading Rider at the Galway Festival and I know they’ve put up a good prize for it." Townend continued. 

"When you’re winning those titles it means all is going well so naturally everyone wants to win it. It will probably be even more competitive this year with everything that’s gone on, missing Fairyhouse and Punchestown, and most of us have been really targeting Galway."

"Sean Flanagan was having a great season but unfortunately got injured the other day. I suppose Davy Russell, Rachael Blackmore, Robbie Power and Mark Walsh will be my big competition and will have big teams behind them."

2020 Galway Festival FAQs

When is the Galway Festival?

The 2020 Galway Festival starts on Monday 27th July and ends on Sunday 2nd August.

What races are run at the Galway Festival?

There's always a mixture of flat and jump races at the Galway Festival. The two big races are the Galway Festival and the Galway Hurdle.

How long is the Galway Festival?

The Galway Festival is the longest meeting in Britain and Ireland, lasting seven days.

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