'Up there with the best novices I've ridden' - Galopin Des Champs wows Townend | Horse Racing News - petsitterbank

‘Up there with the best novices I’ve ridden’ – Galopin Des Champs wows Townend | Horse Racing News

Patrick McCann

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Galopin Des Champs wins the Ladbrokes Novice Chase

Patrick McCann

By Richard Forristal, Ireland editor

Sunday: Leopardstown

Ferny Hollow is the only horse to have beaten Bob Olinger but Galopin Des Champs is threatening to at least usurp him as favorite for the Turners Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham after another spectacular exhibition of athleticism en route to a demolition of some smart horses on his return to Grade 1 company at Leopardstown.

Paul Townend tracked early pacesetter French Dynamite, yet such was the enthusiasm and exuberance of his mount that he was upsides by the fifth fence. His majestic six-year-old partner, sent off at odds of 4-9 to repeat his effortless fencing debut win here at Christmas, came out of his hands on a couple of occasions.

1.20 Leopardstown: full result and replay

Townend was minded to temper that fervour, but he eventually let him stride on down the back the final time. By the time they crossed the third-last, Galopin Des Champs was listening to his rider and they pinged the final few fences on sensible strides.

Master McShee kept him honest turning in, but Townend let out an inch of rein as they ran to the final obstacle and the race was over. Paddy Corkery’s stable star ran his heart out to be second ahead of Gaillard Du Mesnil, but the winning margin was nine lengths and it might have been much more.

Mullins has had some stellar talent through his hands, but Audrey Turley’s handsome French-bred is starting to make a serious impression of his own.

Alan Crowhurst

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Galopin Des Champs: impressive display under Paul Townend

Galopin Des Champs: impressive display under Paul Townend

Alan Crowhurst

The champion trainer wouldn’t be drawn on whether he’d grant us a showdown with Bob Olinger over a similar intermediate trip in the Turners, but bookmakers seemed to speculate he might go there rather than the longer Browne Advisory-sponsored event.

Field Galopin is as short as 11-10 from as big as 3-1 for the Turners, although he is also now odds-on in places for the three-mile race.

“He is right up there with any of the novices I’ve ridden,” Townend said. “He is a real natural, so we’ll see where he ends up.”

Of the slight lack of harmony at some early fences, he explained: “He just wants to please. He has so much scope he’d lure you into wanting to lie up his neck all the time, but he is a novice and he has to learn.

“It was a proper race and we went a proper gallop, and he still hit the line well. We know he stays but when he puts up a performance like that over that trip, deciding where to go next is a nice problem to have. “

Mullins, typically, wouldn’t be drawn on that dilemma but, after winning this Ladbrokes-backed Grade 1 for a tenth time, admitted he was pleased to see Galopin Des Champs learn on the job.

“I wasn’t as happy watching him jumping at Grade 1 pace as I was at Christmas,” he said. “My heart was in my mouth going down the back. I thought a few times he was meeting fences on the wrong side and he just stood back at them.

“By all accounts, it was a much faster pace and Paul didn’t want to keep going on with him like he did at Christmas because he felt with softer ground and everything, he had to learn a little bit today, and Paul thought he achieved that.”

Corkery has no firm plans for Master McShee either. After his stable star returned to a raucous reception in the runner-up berth, he said: “We’ll look at Fairyhouse and Punchestown, but all I’m really thinking now is going to the local pub tonight and having a few pints and enjoying this. The horse has done us proud.”

Read more Sunday reports:

Bookies spared ‘significant’ seven-figure payout as 40-1 shot wins bumper

Honeysuckle at her brilliant best again to land third Irish Champion Hurdle

‘I would put this fella in a different league’ – Each is Mullins’ number one

Sir Gerhard brings up Grade 1 treble for Mullins and Townend

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