Galopin Des Champs wins in Cheltenham Gold Cup

Jockey Paul Townend

Jockey Paul Townend celebrates on Galopin Des Champs after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, in Cheltenham, England on March 17, 2023. 

Photo credit: Glyn Kirk | AFP

The Gold Cup is always epic, and it lived up to that gradient as Galopin Des Champs (Paul Townend 7-5), squashed doubts about stamina. He soared clear of Bravemansgame to procure a gloriously redemptive triumph for Willie Mullins.

Twelve months after his cruel final-fence exit with the Turners Novices' Chase at his mercy, the real looker seven-year-old justified odds-on, by a swirling seven lengths.  Paul had to negotiate some very tricky incidences.

A ragged start left Galopin Des Champs further behind than intended, allowing A Plus Tard, whom he tracked down the inside, kept jumping across him. Stablemate, Stattler, also jay-walked when retreating at pace before a circuit had been completed. Paul narrowly missed being brought down as Ahoy Senor crashed while still in front, six out.

Galopin Des Champs coped well with all these intrusions, as he is a much wiser than last season. Maneuvering a fraction wider with a circuit to go had left them far enough out to avoid the Ahoy Senor incident in which Sounds Russian was brought down and A Plus Tard badly hampered.

That left Hewick running a gallant race ahead, before bailing out two fences from home. Again, having by then drifted back in behind horses for cover, Paul had just tracked out off the final bend on Galopin Des Champs avoiding more malee.

Given the quality of entrants, anticipation surrounding the Gold Cup was off the charts. Bravemansgame played his part in that, coming there to challenge alongside Protektorat at the second-last fence. However, Paul was watching carefully, and Galopin Des Champs had the move covered.

The way the race unfolded mirrored Rachael Blackmore's tactics on A Plus Tard a year ago. Gallopin des Champs and Bravemansgame crossed the final fence in perfect unison before the Paul turned his engine on full. It took a few strides to put daylight between them, but there was no doubting superiority.


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