Galopin Des Champs needs some new worlds to conquer - so how about Aintree?

Paul Townend shows what it means as Galopin Des Champs delivers emphatically.
Paul Townend shows what it means as Galopin Des Champs delivers emphatically in the Gold CupCredit: Michael Steele

And still we don't know how good he is. Faced with what had seemed a deep and talented Gold Cup field, Galopin Des Champs turned in the necessary seven-minute shift with as little fuss as if he were Gary Lineker slotting home another penalty.

The race was a gripping piece of sporting theatre, as it nearly always is, so it was a shock when it ended with the winner pulling seven lengths clear. Bravemansgame hung with the winner as far as the final fence, clearly fighting a losing battle but doing it bravely. Then Paul Townend asked his mount for everything and we got the closest thing to a whoosh that has ever been heard during a staying chase at Cheltenham.

Maybe 'ever' isn't quite right. In order to avoid angry emails, I should confine this claim to 'since 1968'. Galopin is apparently the French word for rascal, a less dignified title than Himself, and I sense that those who really care about the game's history are not yet ready to accept we might have found a comparable talent.

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Chris CookSenior reporter
Published on 17 March 2023Last updated 17:40, 19 March 2023