Rachael Blackmore draws blank at Tramore in race to catch Paul Townend

Blackmore missed her final mount of the day following a heavy fall
Rachael Blackmore draws blank at Tramore in race to catch Paul Townend

Game Of War parts company with Rachael Blackmore as Mark Walsh comes off Kitten Rock at the last during the Green Acre Marketing Handicap Steeplechase at Tramore. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Rachael Blackmore remained eight winners behind Paul Townend in the race for the jockeys’ championship after drawing a blank at Tramore on Sunday, where she missed her final mount of the day following a heavy fall.

With Townend currently on the sidelines due to a foot injury picked up at the Fairyhouse Easter meeting, Blackmore would have been hoping to make more of an inroad into the reigning champion’s lead since her Aintree heroics on Minella Times. But in that time the deficit has only been cut by two.

Blackmore finished in the money on her first three rides of the afternoon without ever looking likely to win, before Game Of War came crashing down at the last in the Green Acre Marketing Handicap Chase.

Despite walking away she was stood down, with the ride on Western Boy in the Lismore Handicap Chase going to Sean Flanagan. The 15-8 favourite was unplaced.

As for Townend, whether he makes it back for the Punchestown Festival is still unclear.

His main employer, champion trainer Willie Mullins, who saddled a treble with Gelee Blanche (3-1), En Beton (evens favourite) and Bapaume (11-8 favourite), said there was no further news on his condition.

“I have no update on Paul Townend. We are just waiting for as long as we have to wait,” said Mullins after the victory of Gelee Blanche.

He added of that winner: “Hopefully now she can improve as the summer goes on. She has a lot of Galway connections with the Tiger Tail Again Syndicate, so I’d imagine that will be her long-term aim, get back to the Festival in Galway this summer.” 

Bapaume, meanwhile, could revert to hurdles at Punchestown.

Mullins said: “We’ll probably go back over hurdles at Punchestown, possibly for a handicap hurdle if he comes out of this well.

“Otherwise we can look over the next month for a similar type of race down the country. Even though the timing isn’t right to go to Punchestown, he mightn’t have had as hard a race as normally with Spyglass Hill making that mistake and the race falling into his lap a bit.” 

Henry de Bromhead also enjoyed a winner on a day when he paraded stable stars including Aintree hero Minella Times, Champion Hurdle-winning mare Honeysuckle, and Gold Cup victor Minella Indo.

The win came in the concluding bumper with Mind Your Money (15-8), after which the Waterford trainer said: “She is a lovely mare and I’m delighted with that.

“Obviously her run the last day looked really good. Harry (Swan) was brilliant on her. She jumps really well at home so hopefully she will have a nice career over hurdles.

“The parade was incredible and there was a great reception. It’s such a shame that crowd can’t be here, but it was lovely for us and all the team to get a reception like it.”

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