Cheltenham Festival 2024: Dominant Galopin Des Champs delivers back-to-back Gold Cup wins for Willie Mullins

Galopin Des Champs defended his Gold Cup crown (Getty Images)
Galopin Des Champs defended his Gold Cup crown (Getty Images)

Galopin Des Champs won the Gold Cup for the second year in a row with a dominant showing at the Cheltenham Festival.

In the 100th running of the Festival’s feature race, Galopin Des Champs was the odds-on favourite and he delivered in style, striding clear of Gerri Colombe and Corach Rambler.

It is a fourth Gold Cup win for Willie Mullins, having also had back-to-back triumphs in the race with Al Boum Photo in 2019 and 2020.

The Irish trainer has had yet another week to remember, having brought up 100 wins at the Festival, while it is history too for Paul Townend, who joined Pat Taaffe in the very exclusive club of jockeys with four Gold Cup wins to their name.

“Unbelievable,” Townend told ITV Sport. “We had to go through his reserves.

"I rode him completely different to last year and he was so brave for me. I was afraid we didn't have enough but it's the Gold Cup so we had to go for it.

"What makes him a champion? His heart probably. We had to go through reserves which only special horses have."

The main threat for Galopin Des Champs and Townend came in the closing stages in the form of a loose horse, after Fastorslow unseated J J Slevin.

He was in close proximity to Galopin Des Champs throughout the remainder of the race, forcing Townend to shift position on more than one occasion, but even that was not enough to particularly worry those roaring on the favourite.

It is now 103 Cheltenham winners for Mullins, after victories for Majborough and Absurde earlier in the day, and the trainer wasted little time in turning his attention towards a potential Gold Cup hat-trick.

"I think he just put himself into the superstar category, to do what he did and the way he did it with the loose horse,” Mullins said after Galopin Des Champs’ imperious display.

"We will come back and try to win it for a third time. He has the ability to do it.

"He gave us no concern really, it was the loose horse which was the one concern. He hit one fence early, third or fourth, but after that it was very easy. Paul got him into position and he was travelling easily."