Rachael Blackmore draws blank at Tramore in pursuit of Townend

Aintree Grand National winner remains eight winners behind in championship

Rachael Blackmore was not among the winners at Tramore on Sunday. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Rachael Blackmore was not among the winners at Tramore on Sunday. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire

 

Rachael Blackmore remained eight winners behind Paul Townend in the race for the Irish jump jockeys’ championship after drawing a blank at Tramore on Sunday, where she missed her final mount of the day following a heavy fall.

With Townend currently on the sidelines due to a foot injury picked up at the Fairyhouse Easter meeting, Blackmore would have been hoping to make more of an inroad into the reigning champion’s lead since her Aintree heroics on Minella Times. But in that time the deficit has only been cut by two.

Blackmore finished in the money on her first three rides of the afternoon without ever looking likely to win, before Game Of War came crashing down at the last in the Green Acre Marketing Handicap Chase.

Despite walking away she was stood down, with the ride on Western Boy in the Lismore Handicap Chase going to Sean Flanagan. The 15-8 favourite was unplaced.

As for Townend, whether he makes it back for the Punchestown Festival is still unclear.

His main employer, champion trainer Willie Mullins, who saddled a treble with Gelee Blanche (3-1), En Beton (evens favourite) and Bapaume (11-8 favourite), said there was no further news on his condition.

“I have no update on Paul Townend. We are just waiting for as long as we have to wait,” said Mullins after the victory of Gelee Blanche.

He added of that winner: “Hopefully now she can improve as the summer goes on. She has a lot of Galway connections with the Tiger Tail Again Syndicate, so I’d imagine that will be her long-term aim, get back to the Festival in Galway this summer.”

Bapaume, meanwhile, could revert to hurdles at Punchestown.

Mullins said: “We’ll probably go back over hurdles at Punchestown, possibly for a handicap hurdle if he comes out of this well.

“Otherwise we can look over the next month for a similar type of race down the country. Even though the timing isn’t right to go to Punchestown, he mightn’t have had as hard a race as normally with Spyglass Hill making that mistake and the race falling into his lap a bit.”

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