Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup
Grade 1, Leopardstown 15:35
€250,000 guaranteed,
5yo plus,
3m, Class 1   
Saturday 3rd February 2024

SureWIn

1 Galopin De Champs 1/3F
2 Fastorslow 7/2
3 I Am Maximus 14/1
4 ran Distances: 4½l, 13l
Time: 6m 28.10s (slow by 42.50s)

Galopin Des Champs has gone odds-on for the Cheltenham Gold Cup following consecutive victories in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. Piloted by Paul Townend, the Willie Mullins-trained led the race from the start, maintaining a controlled pace with the persistent presence of old rival Fastorslow.

Having met three times previously, with Martin Brassil's chaser holding a two-to-one advantage, Team Closutton aimed to even the score before the upcoming Cheltenham event. Despite Townend's earlier selection of the wrong Mullins-trained representative in the initial three Grade Ones of the day, he asserted control throughout the race.

J J Slevin made a move after the second-last hurdle, attempting to secure the rail, but Townend thwarted the maneuver. Conflated, positioned on the far side, remained in contention. Galopin Des Champs momentarily jinked to the left approaching the last, momentarily affecting Fastorslow and causing Conflated to unseat Jack Kennedy.

However, reminiscent of his performance during Christmas, Galopin Des Champs displayed impressive strength in the final 100 yards, pulling ahead by four and a half lengths to secure the victory.

BetGoodwiin

Mullins said:- “It was a terrific performance. He did it the hard way, out in front and jumped from fence to fence.

“He didn’t wait around for anyone and did everything right. Paul was very happy with him.

“He set his own pace, which is hard to do on soft ground. Paul made sure that he was going to go fast enough and try to suck the energy out of the ones behind, which he did.

He went on: “We thought Conflated might make the running, but from the early stages we knew that wasn’t the way. Paul just had to grab the race by the horns, he did and it worked out.

“I thought for a minute from the fifth-last to the third-last that J J Slevin’s body language was looking very good and he was confident in the horse he was riding.

“When Paul poured a little bit on and got a great jump at the second-last you could see the distress signals coming out and Paul was still happy. He was able to dictate in front.

“Gold Cups are always important and it’s nice to win another one for Greg and Audrey (Turley, owners). It’s tremendous prize-money and a tremendous day here in Leopardstown.

“Some people think it’s a trial for Cheltenham, but for me it’s a race in its own right. They need to be respected and raced for. I bring my best horses here to do that.

“I thought I’d never have a horse good enough to run in the race, never mind win it different years, but that’s the way the thing has grown and we’re very lucky.”

Townend said: “It was unfortunate in the earlier races, I was just on the wrong ones, but he was the big bullet and he’s hit the bullseye.

“I thought he took his fences on well, but for Gold Cup horses we went a bit of a dawdle. When I finally asked him he took them on well.

“I was a little slow at four out, but he jumped well down the back and I didn’t want to set him alight too early.

“At the last we were tight to it, quickening up, but he shortened into it and he’s an intelligent horse.

“I was delighted with him, I couldn’t knock him in any way.”

Of the runner-up, Brassill said: “I’m very happy with the run. It was a bit stop-start the race and he’d be happier with an even-run race from start to finish, it was a bit cat and mouse.

“He jumped well and we’ve no excuses really. The winner just had a little look at the last and it’s maybe cost us a flyer, but overall I’m very happy.

“It will be the Gold Cup next and I think a better gallop and hopefully better ground might help.”

QuinnBet

Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (Grade 1)
3m, €250,000 guaranteed
4 ran
Going: Yielding to Soft, Yielding in places

POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1    Galopin Des Champs 8 11-10 W P Mullins Paul Townend 1/3F
2
Fastorslow 8 11-10 Martin Brassil J J Slevin 7/2
3
13 I Am Maximus 8 11-10 W P Mullins Jody McGarvey 14/1
UR Conflated 10 11-10 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy 20/1

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