One of the biggest names in Irish racing, and in terms of a jockey, holder of arguably the biggest job in national hunt racing in both the UK and Ireland. Paul Townend has worked his way to the top of the table when it comes to Irish racing, and his partnership with Willie Mullins is one of the biggest success stories around.
Born on September 15th, 1990, Townend actually started his racing career with team Mullins and has never left. A true partnership where both thrive, Mullins because he has an outstanding jockey as his number one, and Townend because of the opportunities he gets, it is a match made in heaven.
Paul Townend Grand National Wins
Paul Townend has never won the Grand National.
Their best finish to date was in 2023 with Gaillard Du Mesnil who came 3rd.
|2023||Gaillard Du Mesnil||3||£100,000||Willie Mullins|
|2022||Burrows Saint||Fence 15 - Unseated Rider||-||Willie Mullins|
|2019||Pleasant Company||Fence 27 - Unseated Rider||-||Willie Mullins|
|2018||Total Recall||Fence 29 - Pulled Up||-||Willie Mullins|
|2017||O'Faolains Boy||Fence 30 - Pulled Up||-||Rebecca Curtis|
|2016||Boston Bob||Fence 22 - Pulled Up||-||Willie Mullins|
|2015||Bob Ford||Fence 29 - Pulled Up||-||Rebecca Curtis|
|2014||Prince de Beauchene||16||-||Willie Mullins|
|2013||Quel Esprit||Fence 23 - Pulled Up||-||Willie Mullins|
|2012||On His Own||Fence 22 - Fell||-||Willie Mullins|
|2010||Arbor Supreme||Fence 15 - Unseated Rider||-||Willie Mullins|
|2009||Irish Invader||11||-||Willie Mullins|
Townend began his racing career as an apprentice in the Mullins yard, and to begin with, he was there to be a flat jockey. Weight issues took him off that path and down the national hunt path, and of course, given the yard, he was riding at, there was no need for him to switch and go elsewhere.
At a time when Townend was finding his feet and beginning to take regular rides for the yard, Ruby Walsh was employed as the number one jockey and will no doubt have been a great role model for Townend to look up to.
When Walsh retired from the sport in May 2019, Mullins knew what he already had inside the stable and knew there was no need to go anywhere else for a replacement. Paul Townend was quickly named as the new number-one stable jockey in Closutton, and since then, the partnership has gone from strength to strength.
Overall Success as a Jockey
With the help of Willie Mullins, the racing career of Paul Townend has been full of success. He landed his first jockeys championship title in the 2010/11 season when picking up a lot of additional rides from the Mullins yard due to an injury to Ruby Walsh.
Townend has since added further titles to his name, and now he is having the pick of the Mullins runners to ride, both in the UK & Ireland. In the 2018/19 season, Townend hit the 100-winner mark in a season for the very first time, a year that would see him lift his second jockeys’ championship title.
Cheltenham Festival Success and Winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup
When you think of Willie Mullins, you instantly think about big race wins, and big Cheltenham Festival wins. Of course, now, Paul Townend is the man to ride those winners for Willie, and that has given Townend an excellent Cheltenham Festival record.
He recorded his first Cheltenham Festival success back in 2011 when he rode What A Charm to win the Fred Winder handicap hurdle. This was actually not trained by Willie Mullins, it was an extra mount picked up by Townend, trained by Irish handler Arthur Moore.
Three years out of the spotlight, with no festival winners, Townend was back with a bang in 2015, landing three winners at the meeting. From then, it’s been a case of going from strength to strength, and of course, moving into the number one role at the Willie Mullins yard certainly helped with that.
In 2020, the first Cheltenham Festival without Ruby Walsh, Paul Townend landed his first top jockey award at the meeting, riding five winners, two seconds and three-thirds across the week, from an excellent book of rides.
Going back a year before to 2019, Townend delivered a race that Willie Mullins had been craving for some time, and that was the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Riding Al Boum Photo, Townend won the showpiece of the entire week, a race that had long eluded the master Irish trainer but no more.
Not only that, but the pair returned to Cheltenham 12 months later, and at the 2020 festival, one of the five winners that gave Townend the jockeys award was Al Boum Photo winning the Gold Cup for a second time.
While the power of the Mullins team has helped Townend deliver at the Cheltenham Festival, so far, that hasn’t been the case at the Aintree Grand National meeting. The pair are yet to win the Grand National, though, of course, with the firepower on offer, that could happen any year.