Paul Townend extends title lead over Rachael Blackmore

Paul Townend is now eight winners clear of Rachael Blackmore in the race to be crowned Ireland’s champion National Hunt jockey.

Townend had just two rides on day three of the Punchestown Festival, but both Energumene and Gauloise came good for the defending champion.

Energumene (2-5 favourite) made short work of his three rivals in the Ryanair Novice Chase, while Gauloise (7-4 favourite) had to battle a bit harder but eventually prevailed by 10 lengths in the Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle.

Blackmore had six rides but second place aboard Raya Time in the Handicap Chase was her best effort of the day.

Townend only returned to action at Punchestown on Tuesday following a foot injury, but he rode a winner on each of the first two days.

Blackmore started the week just four winners behind but has drawn a blank so far. She has Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle and exciting novice Bob Olinger to look forward to among her mounts on Friday.

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