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    Mullins Expresses Deep Admiration for Paul Townend
Mullins Expresses Deep Admiration for Paul Townend
Paul Townend and Willie Mullins. Source: itv.com

Mullins Expresses Deep Admiration for Paul Townend

Willie Mullins, reflecting on the success of jockey Paul Townend following the Cheltenham Festival and looking ahead to the Fairyhouse event, expressed his admiration for Townend and their strong partnership. Mullins had no doubts about Townend's ability to replace Ruby Walsh as his top jockey, despite any scepticism from others. At Cheltenham, Townend rode six of Mullins' nine winners, with five of those victories achieved at Grade One level.

Willie particularly praised Townend's exceptional ride on Absurde in the County Hurdle, considering it the standout performance of the week. With Galopin Des Champs winning the Gold Cup for the second time, Townend has emerged victorious in four of the last six renewals and now aims to win another Boylesports Irish Grand National on Easter Monday. Mullins commended Townend's ride on last year's winner, I Am Maximus, and acknowledged his quick thinking and horsemanship throughout the race.

Mullins had always seen Townend as the natural successor to Ruby Walsh, given their history as second jockey and his reliable performances when filling in for Walsh. Mullins never entertained doubts about Townend's ability to take on the role. "I never thought about it when Ruby retired. To me Paul was always going to be his replacement because he’d been second jockey to Ruby for however many years," he said.

"Any time Ruby went to England or was injured Paul stepped into his shoes and we never had any problems. I was actually surprised at the time that the press were wondering if he would take over, it never crossed my mind," stated Willie.

While Townend initially felt some pressure in the early days, he eventually settled into the position and earned Mullins' unwavering confidence. Mullins acknowledged that Townend has a different riding style compared to Walsh, but he had grown accustomed to it over the years and is satisfied with the consistent success they continue to achieve together.

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