Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing Sport

Judgement Day: Galopin Des Champs looks to justify favouritism in Boodles Gold Cup

In last year’s Turners Novice’s Chase Galopin Des Champs’s dramatic fall at the last did little to dissuade people that he looked every bit a Gold Cup winner in waiting.

Since that defeat the Willie Mullins machine has been faultless. Winning at Fairyhouse and Punchestown with ease before quelling many doubters with a superb victory in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

The bookmakers have had him at the top of the market for a very long time and many people have fancied him to repay the faith.

Trainer Harry Derham said he was the horse to watch at this year’s festival and that he will take all the beating.

“The one I’m looking forward to seeing most is Galopin des Champs. I mean, he’s looked stunning, he’s relaxed better this season. I obviously hope Bravemansgame wins for Paul (Nicholls) but I think Galopin des Champs is a formidable opponent,” he stated.

Bravemansgame has done nothing wrong this season, winning the King George in impressive fashion and is the British favourite, currently trading at around 13/2.

Paul Nicholls is searching for his first win in the race since 2009 with Kauto Star and the Ditcheat maestro will head to Cheltenham especially after having got his first win at the festival for four years yesterday with Stage Star in the Turners Novices’ Chase.

The other hopes of a first British victory since 2018, when Native River won for Colin Tizzard, lie with Ahoy Senor, for Lucinda Russell winner of the Cotswold Chase last time out and the Betfair Chase winner Protekorat, who looks to give Harry and Dan Skelton their first Gold Cup victory.

Elsewhere, A Plus Tard looks to defend his crown which he won in emphatic style last year but has questions to answer after a sorry performance in the Betfair Chase and a no-show in the King George on Boxing Day.

Noble Yeats looks to follow up last year’s Grand National win and create history by becoming the only horse to ever win the Gold Cup after a National success.

If Emmet Mullins’ star can secure victory he will join L’Escargot and Golden Miller in an exclusive club of horses to win both the Grand National and Gold Cup.

Conflated for Gordon Elliott also has a chance whilst outsiders Hewick and Royale Paigaille are not without an each way chance.

However, Galopin des Champs is the right favourite and if victorious will give Willie Mullins his third win in the race, following in the footsteps of two-time winner Al Boum Photo, who won back to back races in 2019 and 2020.

The showpiece event of the Cheltenham Festival starts at 15:30, with ITV’s coverage getting underway at 13:00.

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