Paul Townend stretched his lead to six over Rachael Blackmore in the race to be crowned Ireland’s champion National Hunt jockey with victory on Galopin Des Champs at Punchestown on Wednesday.
Townend had just the two rides to Blackmore’s four, but it was enough to see the three-time champion take a step closer to retaining his title with the scores standing at 97-91
He had an armchair ride on Galopin Des Champs, who looked a class act as he powered home by 12 lengths in the Grade One Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle.
Townend had started the day five ahead of Blackmore thanks to Chacun Pour Soi’s Grade One success on Tuesday.
That was the reigning champion’s first day back having been on the sidelines since suffering a foot injury in a fall at Fairyhouse’s Easter Festival.
In his absence, Blackmore had closed the gap to four, but Townend’s determination to be fit for the final week of the season has paid off.
Another blank day for Blackmore is a blow to her hopes to become Ireland’s first female champion jockey, although she does have six rides on Thursday and Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle and exciting novice Bob Olinger to look forward to among her mounts on Friday.