Mullins hails Townend as Carefully Selected wins Thyestes Chase thriller

Sir Gerhard's chasing debut and Teahupoo's latest impressive display also featured on the Gowran Park card

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Paul Townend celebrates with the Thyestes Chase trophy after his win on Carefully Selected

Willie Mullins hailed ‘a huge performance’ by Paul Townend after he steered Carefully Selected to a nail-biting victory in a thrilling Thyestes Chase, writes Paul Martin.

The pre-race favourite looked off the pace at the halfway stage of the 3m1f Gowran Park showpiece but picked off challengers to set up a sprint for home with 25/1 shot Dunboyne.

Mullins’ 11-year-old edged it by a shoulder to claim his first win since returning from a break of more than 1,000 days, having finished midway down the field in the Paddy Power Chase at Christmas.

“It was a huge performance, I thought Paul was fantastic,” Mullins told Racing TV.

“He only had two behind him with a full circuit to run but he didn’t panic, he kept him out of trouble and kept him in the race.

“He made two mistakes and after the one at the fourth last, I thought that was him gone. 

“But Paul gave him a breather, got a good jump at the last and from there it was a huge performance.

“I was pleasantly surprised when Paul said he wanted to ride him. He’s a Thyestes horse every day of the week but can a horse who’s had 33 months off have only a four-week break? He took a chance on him and it paid off.”

Mullins’ successful day continued courtesy of Sir Gerhard, who made a victorious start over fences but showed signs there is work to do with a notable mistake on the first circuit in the Daly Farrell Chartered Accountants Beginners Chase.

But with time too tight to squeeze in another run before Cheltenham, the two-time Festival winner is going to head straight to Prestbury Park.

“Paul [Townend] said afterwards that when he was in behind, he thought he was on a schooling day and not racing,” Mullins said.

“He clicked into gear from the third last and what he did from there was very impressive. 

“I think we’ll be going for a longer trip [at Cheltenham], I think the three-mile chase in the Brown Advisory.

“There’s a race at Navan but I think that’s too soon beforehand, we wouldn’t normally send our Cheltenham horses there. He wouldn’t recover in time to run an A-game.”

Elsewhere on a Thyestes Day packed with punters, Teahupoo laid down a Stayers’ Hurdle marker with a convincing victory in the Grade 2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.

Davy Russell was in the saddle for his biggest victory since his retirement U-turn, one which saw the Teahupoo’s odds cut to 11-4 for the three-mile Festival contest.

Trainer Gordon Elliott said: "Teahupoo couldn't have done any more out there today. He settled and jumped well and I always thought three miles would be on his radar. We found a bit out about him today.

"We hope to get him there [to Cheltenham] in one piece and if we do he'd have a great chance."