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Galopin Des Champs delivers back-to-back Gold Cup victories at Cheltenham Festival

Galopin Des Champs romped to victory in the 100th Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival as trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend both claimed their fourth triumph in this famous Grade 1 race.

The eight-year-old was sent off the 10/11 favourite to defend his Festival title and he did so in style, galloping away from Gerri Colombe up the Cheltenham hill.

Last year’s Grand National hero Corach Rambler stayed on gamely for third, but none of his 10 rivals could really trouble Galopin Des Champs who was a three-and-a-half-length winner.

Townend told ITV Racing: “Unbelievable. We had to draw on our reserves there. I rode him completely different to last year and he was just so brave for me.

“We were a bit in between at the last and I was afraid about going for it, but it was a Gold Cup and you had to – and he’s pulled out all the stops again.”

Having answered stamina doubts 12 months ago, Galopin Des Champs was ridden much handier this time by Townend, as the last two Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase winners, The Real Whacker and L’Homme Presse, set the pace.

Townend had edged his way to join the front-runners jumping four out and although the loose Fastorslow threatened to check his momentum as Charlie Deutsch aboard L’Homme Presse set sail for home three out, there were few dramas for the week’s leading rider who looked in complete control jumping to the front two out.

L’Homme Presse and the brave Gerri Colombe looked beaten as Galopin Des Champs approached the last with a clear advantage and he produced the leap of a real champion at the final obstacle before storming up the final climb to finish three and a half lengths clear of Gordon Elliott’s game runner-up Gerri Colombe.

Lucinda Russell’s Grand National hero Corach Rambler stayed on admirably for third, but the day belonged to Galopin Des Champs, who was scoring at the Cheltenham Festival for a third time.

Mullins and Townend were combining for their fourth Gold Cup triumph following Al Boum Photo’s back-to-back triumphs in 2019 and 2020 and Galopin Des Champs’ victory over Bravemansgame 12 months ago and it was a fitting way to cap a stellar week for the master of Closutton and his stable jockey.

 

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