Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Press Association

Galopin Des Champs and Bravemansgame to renew rivalry in Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday

Galopin Des Champs will attempt to get the better of Bravemansgame again when they renew their rivalry in the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday.

Willie Mullins’ star chaser got the better of the Paul Nicholls trained horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month, and has the chance to emulate Kicking King (2005), War Of Attrition (2006) and Sizing John (2017) as the most recent to record the Cheltenham-Punchestown double.

Seven lengths separated the two horses in jump racing’s most prestigious event, answering any stamina doubts some – but not his trainer – may have had.

READ MORE: Punchestown: Staggering amount of food and drink to be served at racing festival

Officially rated the best National Hunt horse in training, Mullins will bid for a seventh triumph in the three-mile Grade One feature.

“He’s in great shape. We’re aiming for Punchestown since Cheltenham,” said Mullins.

“I didn’t have any worry about his stamina until about four furlongs out (at Cheltenham) when I said, ‘Right, now’ when what I was convinced about was going to happen or not.

“I just took his novice hurdle form to mean he would stay three-and-a-quarter miles easily as an older horse.

“I didn’t have any fear about him staying all year. I was surprised myself how much doubt crept in as they rounded the top of the hill.

“But Paul seemed to be going well at all stages. The only little blip was at the third-last where he brushed the top but the minute he did that, Paul just pulled him together, got him in behind the others, gave him just a little bit of time to recover. You could see Paul’s body language telling you, ‘This fella’s got plenty in the tank.’”

The Audrey Turley-owned Galopin Des Champs has won six of his seven starts over fences and has won both starts at Punchestown, taking the Grade One novice hurdle in 2021 and the John Durkan Memorial over two and a half miles in December.

The Irish Gold Cup winner locks horns with King George VI Chase winner Bravemansgame over three miles, with Paul Nicholls relieved the horse’s ownership issues have finally been sorted, with Bryan Drew now the sole owner of the eight-year-old, having previously been co-owner with John Dance.

The latter founded Vertem Asset Management, a prominent sponsor within racing, but that firm is one of three trading names of WealthTek LLP, which was ordered to cease trading by the Financial Conduct Authority due to “serious regulatory and operational issues coming to light”.

Bravemansgame was subsequently prevented via a court order from running at Aintree but thanks to an early Easter, Nicholls feels the additional time between Cheltenham and Punchestown will help as the trainer bids for a fourth victory in the race.

“It’s brilliant that he has been cleared to run at Punchestown after issues beyond our control led to him missing Aintree,” Nicholls reported on his Betfair blog.

“The extra 12 days since Cheltenham can only be a positive for Bravemansgame, who ran the race of his life against Galopin de Champs in the Gold Cup and I’m really looking forward to taking him on again.

“He’s in great order at home, schooled beautifully ridden by Harry Cobden on Monday morning, and our horses could hardly be in better form. So I’m expecting another big show.”

Allaho took the laurels in last year’s renewal for Cheveley Park and the stud’s managing director Chris Richardson hopes that Envoi Allen can complete another fine season which has produced two Grade One victories from three starts.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained nine-year-old plundered the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal on his seasonal debut and after a tame run in the King George, bounced back in fine style under regular partner Rachael Blackmore to beat Shishkin in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.

Richardson said: “He goes to Punchestown in good order. It was wonderful to see him perform as he did at Cheltenham.

“I wasn’t really surprised that he bounced back, because he had been working well at home and so much better this year than he had. He was much more settled and relaxed in himself. Henry and Rachael were just thrilled. He was in such a good place.

“We went to Kempton thinking he was in a happy place, but he was just never going and that obviously was a huge surprise, really.

“There was no real explanation afterwards. It was one of those days and we just put it down to an off-day and hopefully he’d put that behind him – which he did so famously.

“He likes Punchestown, but we’ve probably had our luck last year with Allaho.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.