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July 19, 2024
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Galopin Des Champs joins Gold Cup greats by retaining Cheltenham crown

Though L’Homme Presse led them into the home straight and the National winner Corach Rambler was creeping into it, for a brief moment ominously well, Townend was poised and it was Gerri Colombe who looked the biggest threat to his superiority. But the runner-up, who had been off the bridle from the top of the hill, might have matched the winner for resolution and never gave up but he never quite had the legs of him.

Corach Rambler ran a terrific Grand National trial in third with L’Homme Press a game fourth, Bravemansgame fifth with Jungle Boogie sixth and last. Gentlemansgame, Monkfish, Nassalam and The Real Whacker were all pulled up.

Townend, leading jockey of the week, was too diplomatic to put Galopin Des Champs above Al Boum Photo, his and Mullins’ other two-time winner, even though to the neutral observer this one looks better – by some margin. But the jockey did single out this Gold Cup as a stand-out.

“It was different to the other three, to be honest,” he said. “I can’t really believe it, I’m a bit lost for words. He pulled out every stop – we went for reserves in that last furlong that only the really, really good ones have. He was brave the whole way round for me.

“The loose one was interfering with us a bit and it was messy but what he found up the straight from the back of the last – you see so many horses get to the last and don’t get up the hill. He got up there last year but that was a different type of ride.”

Mullins shipped 80 horses across the Irish Sea this week. Galopin Des Champs was the best of them when they set off and he returns even better and the only horse to defend a major title at this year’s Festival.

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