Galopin Des Champs wins Cheltenham Gold Cup

CHELTENHAM, England (AP) — Galopin Des Champs stormed up the hill for a convincing victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

The pre-race favorite, at 7-5 odds, answered questions about his stamina by pulling away from Bravemansgame after the final fence to win by about seven lengths. Conflated crossed third.

The victory made jockey Paul Townend and trainer Willie Mullins three-time Gold Cup champions — on St. Patrick’s Day for the Irish pair.

“This race is just different. It brings winning to a different level,” Townend told iTV Racing.

A Plus Tard pulled up, ending a bid for back-to-back wins.

Galopin Des Champs and the Paul Nicholls-trained Bravemansgame were even on the last jump but the King George winner could not keep up.

“It was messy for me — I couldn’t get a clean passage early, and he started jumping in the air a little bit, but when I got a bit of room, in fairness to him he came back into a rhythm with me and was very, very brave,” Townend said. “He got me out of a fair hole, to be honest.

“He missed one of the fences coming down the hill, and I thought that was going to put me on the back foot a bit again, but no, straight back on the bridle for me. I don’t think the horse understands how good he is, to be honest.”

Mullins said he was “absolutely delighted” for owner Audrey Turley and credited Townend for “a peach of a ride” under a lot of pressure.

“One or two fell and we missed all that, we had a lot of luck. I think that man on board, when the pressure comes on, he’s very good,” Mullins said.


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