GALOPIN DES CHAMPS has been cut to 7-4 for Gold Cup glory after an easy comeback win in the John Durkhan.
Willie Mullins’ chaser, who was last seen bolting up in the BoyleSports Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse last April, made easy work of the 165-rated Fakir D’oudairies.
Galopin Des Champs!
The ante-post Boodles Gold Cup favourite makes a foot-perfect return to action in the John Durkan Memorial @punchestownrace Chase.@WillieMullinsNH | @PTownend pic.twitter.com/bVOpimfFHN
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) December 19, 2022
The 2-9 favourite put in a pretty assured display over fences to strengthen his spot at the top of the Gold Cup betting.
Paul Townend was never seriously challenged on the Joe and Marie Donnelly-owned runner, who famously tipped up at the final fence in the Turner’s.
There was no threat of that here as the 2-9 favourite jumped well before motoring home over the 2m4f trip.
Any doubts over staying the 3m at Cheltenham looked to be put to bed as he extended away at the post.
Paddy Power and Betfair went 7-4 for the Festival feature.
Coral came in at 2-1 and spokesman David Stevens said: “His fall in the Turners’ at last season’s Cheltenham Festival is very much in the past now.
“And following a winning return to action, Galopin Des Champs has strengthened his grip on the head of the Gold Cup market.”
Mullins said afterwards: “I was very happy to see a loop in Paul’s reins as he came round, that’s a big improvement for him.
“And when Paul wanted to put in a few quick ones, he did just that.
“He’s beaten a proven two-and-a-half mile Grade 1 winner.
“We’re going out to the Gold Cup distance and that’s why I was delighted with the way he settled today.
“He was doing everything right and I was just hoping something stupid wasn’t going to happen.
“Because anything can happen, Fastorslow loomed up and he could have had 20lb improvement in him, but I’m pleased with how it went.”
While winning jockey Townend added: “That was very, very professional and when I wanted, he came alive.
“You have to be delighted with that it, it’s brilliant to see him doing that, it’s a good sign.
“It’s brilliant to get him back on track.”
Punters were blown away too – and counting down the days to seeing him coming up the hill at HQ.
One said: “Oozed quality there with his gears.”
Another wrote: “Absolutely love Fakir D’oudairies and he’s been made to look bang average.”
While another comment read: “Lost a few quid on him at the Festival last year but I reckon I’ll win it back on the Gold Cup this time round!”
Boodles Gold Cup
2-1 Galopin Des Champs
5-1 L’Homme Presse
7-1 A Plus Tard
10-1 Noble Yeats
16-1 Allaho, Stattler