Paul Townend is impressed by the stylish Impaire Et Passe and says, “I think he’s very smart.”
Sunday: Punchestown, Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle
With an impressive performance in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, a Grade 2 race that Willie Mullins has used as a springboard for superstars like Vautour and Douvan, Impaire Et Passe made it two wins out of two over hurdles in Ireland.
The most important question is whether Impaire Et Passe will target the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or the Ballymore. Sky Bet has dropped him to 11-2 (from 8) for the Supreme and to 6-1 (from 9) for the Ballymore.
Paul Townend had the 1-3 favorite close to the pace throughout the race, which was mostly run steadily and very tactical. He took control in the straight to win going away by six and a half lengths from good yardstick The Model Kingdom.
The previously unbeaten mare Shecouldbeanything, who withdrew for the majority of the race before becoming sluggish from the second turn, was eight lengths behind.
Townend was pleased and impressed by the winner’s performance because it appears that she does not show much on the gallops.
“As I said after he won at Naas, he does not show us that at home, but he showed a good turn of foot today,” he said. “I was very happy with him. He jumped like a buck and the only hurdle he was slow at was the last.”
“It’s hard to know how good he is because he shows so little at home yet does it on the track. I think he’s very smart and he gave me a great feel today.”
“He jumped only four hurdles at Naas, but how he jumped there was very good and he didn’t miss a beat today apart from the last, which I wouldn’t worry about.”
Townend provided the following response when asked about the return to two miles after winning over two miles and three furlongs the previous time: “It was a worry and the ground was soft enough, but he showed pace out there. Wherever he goes I wouldn’t mind being on his back.”
David Casey, the assistant trainer, said: “He did it all right. Paul said he didn’t do a huge amount in front and he had loads in the tank. He was a bit sharper than he was at Naas and he is going in the right direction.”
“Jumping fences will be his forte. To come back in trip like he did was good as well, especially on the sharp inside track here, and he is still learning. He will have all the entries [for Cheltenham].”
The Model Kingdom, the runner-up, delighted her trainer Noel Meade because she had excellent form against mares going into this.
“I would say there is every chance she’ll go to Cheltenham for the mares’ novice, the owners are mad keen to go,” said Meade.
“I would say that was as good a run as she’s had. The tongue-tie helped but the ground helped too. I think the ground at Thurles last time was probably too quick for her.”
“We are very happy with that. I don’t know if she’ll get up the hill at Cheltenham, but there’s only one way to find out.”
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