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Other SportsCheltenham Festival 2024: Mullins caps incredible week as Galopin Des Champs retains...

Cheltenham Festival 2024: Mullins caps incredible week as Galopin Des Champs retains the Gold Cup

Willie Mullins was left to reflect on a week that he found “so good” as he rounded off the Cheltenham Festival with another Gold Cup success with Galopin Des Champs.

Galopin Des Champs retained the trophy he won last year in devastating fashion to win the 100th running of the race. He stayed with pacesetter The Real Whacker before cruising through the gears and ignoring the irritating presence of the unseated Fastorslow to win at a canter and justify his status as 10/11 favourite.

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Gerri Colombe was second at 13/2 with Corach Rambler third at 14/1.

The win was the icing on the cake for Mullins, who racked up 100 Cheltenham Festival wins on Wednesday and claimed nine in total this week.

He said: “It feels a bit overwhelming to win the 100th Gold Cup.

“The week has been so good, the horses have done well, the jockeys have ridden well. It is like a perfect storm.

“We were sitting at home last week and I turned around to Patrick [Mullins’ son] and some of the others from the team and said ‘is it me or is everything going eerily well’. They all looked at each other and said it was.

“Preparations had gone perfectly. We knew it could be a hell of a week and it has worked out like that.”

Paul Townend gave Galopin Des Champs the perfect ride for Mullins and owners Audrey and Greg Turley with the trainer already targeting a three-peat in 2025. 

He added: “I think he put himself in the superstar category to do what he did in the way he did it. 

“Paul was so positive on him and we’ll have to come back next year and try to win a third one with him. He has the ability to do it, he just has to stay sound I think.”

Mullins also enjoyed success in the opening two races on the fourth and final day of the Festival, starting with Majborough winning the JCB Triumph Hurdle under Mark Walsh ahead of Kargese at 4/1 and Salver at 10/1.

Walsh told ITV Racing: “He’s not your typical juvenile hurdler, he’s a big chaser.

“He’s such a big four-year-old, he’s so strong. He was a little bit keen in my hands early but I was just happy to sit and get a lead for as long as I could.”

Mullins followed up that success with Absurde winning the 14.10, the County Hurdle thanks largely to a brilliant ride from the ever-reliable Townend, who was able to carve a path through the field to deny 7/2 favourite L’Eau Du Sud.

I loved that,” said Townend with Absurde coming in at 12/1. “I got a lot of satisfaction out of it to tell you the truth. What a horse to travel the world and come back and put in a performance like that on that ground.”

Mullins missed out in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle with 2/1 favourite Readin Tommy Wrong pulled up, allowing Stellar Story (33/1) to edge out the Harry Redknapp-owned The Jukebox Man (18/1) with Dancing City (8/1) third.

There was a nice story in the Hunters’ Chase with Fiona Needham training the winning horse, Sine Nomine.

Needham was the winning jockey in the same race 22 years ago on Last Option with John Dawson taking the honours this time round.

Dawson said: “Just a phenomenal buzz. She’s a lovely mare. She’s come through and progressed all the time. We all believe in her. We’re chuffed.”

Golden Ace won the Ryanair Mares’ Novices Hurdle at 10/1 and the Festival was completed when Better Days Ahead won the last race of the day, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at 5/1.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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