Relegate hoping to get off the mark over jumps at Naas
Paul Townend to ride the Willie Mullins-trained Face The Facts in the opening maiden hurdle at the meeting
The jockeys’ championship leader Paul Townend. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Last season’s Cheltenham Bumper champion Relegate will attempt to get off the mark over jumps at Naas on Tuesday.
The Willie Mullins-trained mare is Ruby Walsh’s sole ride on the programme, and drops back almost three-quarters of a mile from her hurdling debut at Punchestown. Relegate’s jumping will have to sharpen up from that experience when she was badly hampered by the subsequently disqualified Cuneo after the final flight.
The jockeys’ championship leader Paul Townend steps up for a number of other Mullins-trained runners, including the newcomer Face The Facts in the opening maiden hurdle.
This one’s final flat start for John Gosden came off a mark of 104. Face The Facts carries the same Graham Wylie colours that another former Gosden horse, the ill-fated Nichols Canyon, carried with such distinction for Mullins.
Duc Des Genievres is the Mullins-Townend contender for the Beginners Chase, and on the best of his hurdles form behind Samcro he looks an interesting recruit to fences.
The Qatar Racing team have switched the ex-Mullins horse Carter Mckay to his great rival Gordon Elliott, while another leading contender for the race should be Cheveley Park Stud’s four-year-old A Plus Tard.
Mullins’s bumper hope Port Aval is a half sister to the Grade One winner Pont Alexandre, and should be a sharper proposition on the back of her debut third at Galway in September.
In other news, the north of England trainer Ruth Jefferson isn’t worried about her stable star Waiting Patiently making his first start of the season in next week’s King George VI Chase at Kempton. The Grade One winner is second favourite to Might Bite for the Kempton highlight, and worked recently at Hexham racecourse.
“He’s probably best fresh and doesn’t need a lot of work,” she said. “We’ve had eight first-time-out winners this season, so we can get them fit enough at home. The all-weather gallop here is riding deeper this year so they are having to work harder. It’s nice to know you can get them fit first time.”