Cheltenham Festival

'Huge, huge performance' - Paul Townend reflects on Galopin Des Champs' Cheltenham Gold Cup heroics

Paul Townend: landed the Gold Cup aboard Galopin Des Champs
Paul Townend: landed the Gold Cup aboard Galopin Des Champs

Paul Townend said it was nice to receive praise from Sir Anthony McCoy following the "huge performance" by Galopin Des Champs in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

McCoy, a 20-time champion jockey in Britain, described Townend's winning ride as being "as brilliant as I have ever seen in a horserace" while speaking on ITV. 

Reacting to McCoy's praise Townend, the leading rider at the festival, said: "You have to take praise the same way as you would the criticism, but it's nice to hear it.

"For a long way I didn't think it was going to work out as well as it did with Galopin Des Champs, but they went a good gallop for most of the race, which helped.

"When I gave him a couple of flicks at the back of the last, he put down his head and galloped all the way up the hill. It was a typical Gold Cup with an end-to-end gallop and to put in the performance he did and gallop through the line – I thought it was a huge, huge performance."

Townend admitted it was not all plain sailing, despite the seven-length margin over Bravemansgame, after Galopin Des Champs struggled in the early stages.

The jockey added: "I thought the start was a bit of a joke to be honest for a Gold Cup and we were on the backfoot then. Horses were jumping left and right and jumping into me and he got a bit careful so all credit to him to get into a rhythm after that. Bar the third-last he was pretty good on the last circuit."

The jockey had little time to dwell on his Gold Cup triumph as he was booked for three rides at Thurles on Saturday, where he continued his successful week by scoring on Flame Bearer in the Grade 3 Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase.

Read more:

Epic Gold Cup lives up to expectations as Galopin Des Champs gallops to glory under brilliant Paul Townend 

'As brilliant a ride as I've ever seen in any horserace' - McCoy heaps praise on Townend after Gold Cup masterclass 

Surprise as bookies hail Galopin Des Champs win as 'a very good result' 

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Conor FennellyReporter
Published on 18 March 2023Last updated 18:30, 18 March 2023