CHELTENHAM Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs will be honoured in Leighlinbridge this evening (Tuesday 21 March).
Starting in the Lord Bagenal at 6pm, the stylish winner along with his owner Audrey Turley, trainer Willie Mullins and jockey, Paul Townend, will proceed to parade through the village of Leighlinbridge.
Galopin Des Champs gave Mullins, and Townend, their third success in the blue riband race of the Cheltenham Festival after winning twice previously with Al Boum Photo.
“We had such confidence in the horse and we nominated him for the Gold Cup as we thought he was a Gold Cup horse. A lot of people were saying he is not (a Gold Cup) horse as he had too much speed and no stamina but he had won over three miles as a novice and I was happy if a novice can do that over hurdles at that age they are only going to get stronger as an older horse and I think there is plenty of stamina.
“It is mind blowing. I can’t comprehend the numbers I have in training at home and I can’t comprehend the quality of horse we have at home. It is something that we never would have dreamt off. Until I got my licence if someone would have said to me you will have 60 horses every day for the rest of your training career I would have grabbed that because top trainers like Fred Winter, Fulke Walwyn, David Nicholson never had more than 60 or 65, and you were lucky if you got a Grade One horse every year, or two maybe. Since being at Closutton every day I go through the barns and I pinch myself. We don’t take it for granted and I say to Jackie we know what we had. We are in awe as you guys are when you come down on press days to see what horses are around the place and the quality of them.
“It is fantastic to win a Gold Cup. Al Boum Photo and this fellow are both up there (in list of achievements). It would look like that (being a top quality Gold Cup). I’ve not seen the times but they looked to be going a good hard gallop. I’d say the horses that had a chance saw their only chance was to test Galopin Des Champs stamina. The Irish Gold Cup was run at a very slow pace and he used his speed to win there as there was about six horses still there at the second last. I think he could have won there easier if there more of a pace but he wasn’t really tested there but he was tested today. I think so (seeing more improvement) as he is only seven and horses do improve until they are eight or nine so I’d like think there is a little bit of improvement there.”