Cheltenham Gold Cup 2023: Galopin Des Champs wins from Bravemansgame

  • By Frank Keogh
  • BBC Sport at Cheltenham

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The two leading horses jumped the final fence at Prestbury Park together

Galopin Des Champs stormed clear and won a dramatic Cheltenham Gold Cup from Bravemansgame.

The 7-5 favorite gave jockey Paul Townend and Willie Mullins, who triumphed twice with Al Boum Photo, their third win in five years.

Conflated finished third after Ahoy Senor and Hewick, both looking at one point in the competition, fell.

It came down to a duel with Galopin Des Champs, who came up the hill to the lead and won by seven lengths.

“It certainly wasn’t easy,” a delighted Townend told ITV Racing. “Everywhere I went, I got into trouble.

“But that’s a real, real horse because he’s run three different races and still won a Gold Cup.

“I was delighted to see how it all played out in front of me. It gave me a chance to fill it up after gaining a lot of ground.

“This race is just different. It takes winning to another level.”

Ahoy Senor had set the pace from home until his fault six and Townend waited patiently for the Irish Gold Cup winner before heading down the hill into the fight.

After breaking away with Bravemansgame, both jumped well in the end, but the Paul Nicholls-trained King George winner just didn’t have the pace of the winner.

It gave Mullins his 94th festival win and his sixth of the week.

“We had faith in the horse but you don’t realize how much pressure that puts on you until you jump the penultimate and you wonder if he’s staying or not and he stayed. But we are excited.”

It was the second win of the day for the Mullins-Townend combination after that Lossiemouth returned a 1-2-3-4 for the trainer in the Triumph Hurdle, with the first 10 horses all trained in Ireland.

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Final flight drama at Cheltenham

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Walsh missed the Gold Cup after being thrown by Corbetts Cross

Coach Paul Nicholls celebrated his second winner of the week with an 18:1 chance win stay away fay took a dramatic Albert Bartlett Novices’ hurdle where 150-1 underdog Afforrable Fury finished second.

The favorite Corbetts Cross was in the running on the last flight but swung right over the wing of the flight and let jockey Mark Walsh fly.

Walsh walked away cautiously after that but was unable to race in the Gold Cup and was replaced by Nico de Boinville on a Minella Indo.

Productive point-to-point winner first magic, trained and ridden by Bradley Gibbs, was the week’s most expensive winner, winning the St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase 66-1 – but there were mixed feelings for Gibbs.

“It was amazing, my fiancee’s dad owns it and we came here last year thinking we had a chance.

“I rode him inside and things got a little tight for him, he got really stage fright. I rode him a long way today and he was a completely different horse.

“The way he was winning his point-to-points we always thought he was good enough to win a big race like this and that paid off today.”

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Andrews took on the ride after recovering from serious injuries sustained in a crash in Warwick last April

It was a family affair for Bridget Andrews, who won the County Hurdle 33-1 Faivoir for her brother-in-law, trainer Dan Skelton, who landed the race for the fourth time in eight years.

Stablemate Pembroke had been sent off 9-2 as a favorite but jockey Harry Skelton – Bridget’s husband – was among the first to congratulate her after Faivoir overtook Pied Piper by a head despite finishing the field.

“Coming here is just a dream come true. I never thought I would be in this position,” Andrews said.

Impermeable was struggling for some well-deserved success in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares chase as former Champion Hurdle winning trainer Colm Murphy returned to the Cheltenham winners circle for the first time since 2016.

The winner put her head in front under Brian Hayes late to maintain her unbeaten record over fences.

Ireland won the Prestbury Cup again with 18 winners to Britain’s 10.

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