Gary Carson: Galopin ready to land Gold for Willie Mullins
GALOPIN Des Champs looks like the real deal and can shine on the biggest stage in the Cheltenham Gold Cup St Patrick’s Day.
Given how exuberant the Timos gelding has been over fences there were some doubting his stamina but he put that to bed with a powerful performance in the Irish Gold Cup last month.
The seven-year-old was pulling away at the line to beat Stattler by eight lengths at Leopardstown and it didn’t appear then that an extra couple of furlongs would be any problem.
It was interesting to hear Willie Mullins say that the gelding is settling much better as he matures and he has switched off nicely for Paul Townend in two runs this season.
He probably hasn’t been as flashy as he was as a novice but oozes class and racing a bit more restrained will be a big asset in today’s race.
Obviously he has a bit of unfinished business at the track as well, having tipped up at the back of the last here 12 months ago in the Turners Novices’ Chase.
He was set to post a brilliant success then only to slip on landing and crash out. He can lay the ghosts of that unlucky loss to rest now.
Galopin Des Champs looks a worthy favourite for today’s Blue Riband event.
It is a strong renewal, however, and last year’s winner A Plus Tard could be a big danger.
The Kapgarde gelding is on a bit of a retrieval mission after flopping in the Betfair Chase on his sole outing this term.
It was reported that his bloods were ‘haywire’ following his defeat in Haydock in November and it looks fair to draw a line through that run.
Obviously it’s not ideal coming here off the back of one bad run but recent reports have been encouraging and if he’s anywhere near the horse that sprinted clear to win this so impressively 12 months ago he’s a big player.
Strong stayers Noble Yeats and Stattler could be ones that plug on to take minor honours in the race but Galopin Des Champs looks a different level to them and is fancied to step up and prove his class.
It’s hard to see anyone but Mullins winning the opening Triumph Hurdle, where he saddles seven of the 15 runners.
Paul Townend keeps the faith in Lossiemouth after an unlucky defeat at the Dublin Racing Festival last time and she will be expected to turn the tables now on stablemate Gala Marceau.
Blood Destiny is another matter though and he gets the vote after a couple of highly impressive victories since joining the yard.
The No Risk At All gelding beat a couple of decent sorts, doing handstands, at Fairyhouse in January and that form actually got a significant boost last month with the third horse Nusret winning a Grade Two contest at Kempton.
Mullins also looks to have a class act in the Mares’ Chase in the shape of the imposing Allegorie De Vassy.
The Albert Bartlett is a much more wide open affair and Willie’s nephew Emmet may be the man to follow in the staying novice test with Corbetts Cross.
The Gamut gelding dropped back to two miles to win a Grade Two contest at Naas last time out and it’s the mark of a real good horse to be able to take a race of that quality over a trip well short of his best.
David Christie has a terrific team of hunter chasers in his care at the moment and he can land the big one this afternoon with Vaucelet.
The same connections were agonisingly denied with Winged Leader in the race 12 months ago and this highly progressive eight-year-old definitely looks like a better horse than his stablemate.
GARY CARSON'S FIVE TO FOLLOW
3.30 Galopin Des Champs
1.30 Blood Destiny
4.50 Allegorie de Vassy
2.50 Corbetts Cross