Galopin Des Champs back on track with Fairyhouse win

Galopin Des Champs consigned his final-fence Cheltenham Festival fall to the past with Grade One victory in the Boylesports Gold Cup at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday.

The black son of Timos was sent off as the 2/11 favourite on the back of what looked like being a demolition job on Bob Olinger in the Turners Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, before he sent Paul Townend sprawling, and he did not put a foot wrong on this occasion.

Townend, who was completing a big-race double on the day having guided Brandy Love to success in the mares’ novices’ hurdle earlier in the afternoon, was able to dictate matters on the long-striding Galopin Des Champs, setting out in front and jumping boldly from the off.

Paul Townend celebrates winning the BoyleSports Gold Cup Novice Chase on Galopin Des Champs at Fairyhouse

Townend celebrates his victory on Galopin Des Champs at Fairyhouse

The hugely-exciting horse had his three rivals under the pump on the run to the second-last and sealed the deal on this occasion, with Galopin Des Champs cruising home to score emphatically from Master McShee and Riviere D’Etel a close third.

He did give odds-on backers a minor scare at the final fence, putting in a short stride and brushing through the fence but survived the error this time and stormed away to a stunning success.

The win takes Galopin Des Champs’ chasing record to three wins from four starts and he is 4/1 joint-favourite (along with A Plus Tard) for next season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup with Betfair and Paddy Power. Sky Bet also left him unchanged at 7/2 for the 2023 Gold Cup.

“I had an armchair ride as he lobbed along and jumped for fun,” said Townend.

“He put up a massive performance at Cheltenham before the fall. The important thing was that he learned from it.

“I was so happy with him today. He knew what he was doing and looked a real professional.”

Mullins said: “He had a hard race in Cheltenham – any horse that goes at that pace would have a hard race. All his homework suggested he was fine and Paul was happy with him.

“I was going to wait and go over three miles at Punchestown, but then I thought there’s a Grade One here over two and a half and we took our chance.

“Paul rode him differently down to the first than he did at Cheltenham and that made a big change. To me it looked an ordinary pace and it looked like the other two elected to challenge him over the last three fences.

“Once he changed gear between the last two, it was over bar jumping the last. He just seemed to be on a wrong stride and Paul let the horse decide. He put down lovely and got over it.

“He quickened away after the last and he couldn’t pull him up going around the bend.

“I reckon he’s a Gold Cup horse. I have to discuss that with Greg and Audrey (Turley, owners) yet, but he looks a horse for the Gold Cup.”

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