Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Champion Townend thanks Mullins

Paul Townend

Paul Townend extended his thanks to Willie Mullins after being crowned Ireland's new National Hunt champion jockey.

Townend stepped into the void left by Ruby Walsh when he broke his leg in November and filled the gap admirably on a host of big-race winners.

Unfortunately he missed the last few days of the season with a broken collarbone, but he had enough of a gap over Davy Russell to remain in front by four at the close of the Punchestown Festival.

"It's absolutely brilliant and in no way did I expect it," Townend told At The Races.

"There were still four days left for Davy to catch me and right up until it was impossible for him to do it I thought he would.

"To be associated with horses like Hurricane Fly has been a dream and having my first winner at Cheltenham was fantastic.

"I'm very grateful to Willie Mullins for putting me up on his horses, not for one minute did I ever think I'd be champion jockey.

"I didn't realise I'd broken the collarbone again because of the adrenalin, it didn't hurt so much but I'll be out for a couple of weeks. I'll be back in time for Galway and there's no point in rushing."