Townend dazzles with Cork four-timer
Title-chasing Paul Townend was the star of the show at Cork with a brilliant 275/1 four-timer, which included the Grade Two Hilly Way Chase thanks to the impressive victory of Castlegrace Paddy.
Townend now sits on top of the champion jockey's table with 66 winners, two ahead of main challenger Rachael Blackmore, who enjoyed a double at Punchestown.
In the Kerry Group sponsored feature, the Willie Mullins-trained Great Field was sent off 4/7 favourite and was bowling along in front when coming down at the second, leaving Special Tiara in front.
Henry de Bromhead's runner opened up a big advantage, but came back to the field. Castlegrace Paddy and Townend landed in front four from home and asserted early in the straight, before cruising to a 16-length success from Doctor Phoenix, with Special Tiara hanging on for third.
Pat Fahy said of his 13/2 winner, which has been beaten just once in four starts over fences: "It was a pity Andrew Lynch couldn't ride him as he'd all the schooling down with him, but he got injured. I was delighted to get Paul to fill in. He wasn't jumping fluently in Punchestown and ran a bit flat, but he's summered fierce well and was in great shape coming here. He's just a different horse this year."
As for future plans, Fahy indicated the winner will now probably go to Leopardstown and if he performs well there, Cheltenham in March is likely to be on the horizon.
Half an hour later, Townend was back in the winner's enclosure after the all-the-way success of the Mullins-trained Camelia De Cotta in the Grade 3 Kerry Group EBF Mares Novice Chase.
The French-bred victor was providing owners Rich and Susannah Ricci with a double as their colours were carried to victory by Min in the feature at Punchestown. Sent off an 11/4 chance, Camelia De Cotta was soon in front and came home a comfortable six-length victor from runner-up Moyhenna, with favourite Forge Meadow trailing back in fourth.
Townend had got the ball rolling with a hard-fought success aboard Maze Runner, which justified 13/8 favouritism for the Mullins camp in the opening three-year-old hurdle.
Winner No 2 for the Cork-born jockey came aboard another Mullins runner as Come To Me (11/4) easily landed the two-mile maiden hurdle.
He came agonisingly close to completing a five-timer when Eight And Bob was chinned by Ronald Pump in the closing handicap hurdle.