Cheltenham Day 4 Review: Gold Cup glory for Galopin Des Champs
Friday brought us a magnificent end to the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, with the highlight being a sensational victory for Galopin Des Champs in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The favourite delivered a 93rd Cheltenham Festival win for Willie Mullins and banished memories of a fall at the Festival 12 months ago.
Lossiemouth lands the opener
The first race of the final day was landed by Willie Mullins, after another impressive performance from Lossiemouth, with the trainer ultimately responsible for the first four past the post in a super start to his day.
Ridden by Paul Townend, the four-year-old always looked to be cruising round the new course at Prestbury Park and hit the front heading over the final flight.
Despite being put under pressure from stablemates, Gala Marceau and Zenta, 11/8f Lossiemouth went on to win her fourth race in five starts.
After the race, jockey Townend admitted: "I didn't question her stamina, I just wanted to keep it an even gallop.
"She is very good. She is very professional even though she hasn't got a whole lot of racing done."
Faivoir causes big surprise
Trainer Dan Skelton went into the County Handicap Hurdle looking for a fourth win in the race and Pembroke went off the 9/2 favourite.
But it was Skelton’s second string that went on to cause an upset, as Faivoir won the Class 1 contest in a thrilling finish up the hill at Prestbury Park.
The race saw a brilliant ride from Bridget Andrews, who secured her second Cheltenham victory after holding off Pied Piper to win by a head.
Nicholls secures Albert Bartlett victory
Stay Away Fay claimed success for Paul Nicholls in the third race of day four, the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
After losing to Maximilian at Doncaster in January, some people questioned whether he was good enough to win at the Festival.
There were four horses in a row jumping the last when favourite Corbetts Cross ducked out of the way, with Harry Cobden taking advantage on 18/1 shot Stay Away Fay.
The jockey said: "My horse is very inexperienced, he's very green but he got his head down. This horse stays forever."
Galopin Des Champs secures Gold Cup hat-trick for Mullins
Willie Mullins celebrated his third Cheltenham Gold Cup victory, with Galopin Des Champs collecting the £350,000 first prize.
After bringing up the rear in the early stages, the favourite made strong headway on the final circuit and pulled level with Bravemansgame jumping the final fence.
Galopin Des Champs, who fell in the Turners Novices’ Chase last year, pulled clear up the hill and went on to win by seven lengths in front of over 60,000 spectators.
Former champion jockey AP McCoy described Paul Townend’s ride as the "best he’s seen in a big race, under immense pressure", with jockey and trainer collecting their fifth Grade 1 victory of the Festival week.
Premier Magic upsets the odds
The St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase brought a big price winner, as Premier Magic stayed on in the closing stages to win at 66/1.
Ridden by Bradley Gibbs, the 10-year-old was one of five contenders in with a chance of victory coming to the final flight.
Despite two loose horses causing issues down the home straight, Premier Magic held on to claim a one-and-three-quarter length win over Its On The Line.
Drama to the last
Impervious (15/8) proved precisely that in the penultimate race of the day, the Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase, staying on gamely to edge out Willie Mullins' 13/8 favourite, Allegorie De Vassy.
The pair had taken up the running from Pink Legend from two out with Mullins' charge getting in front after the last, only for Impervious to find more on the run to the line to give jockey Brian Hayes his first Festival winner.
And in the Festival finale, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, it was the well-supported Iroko (6/1) who powered past No Ordinary Joe and Buddy One to secure another Festival first, this time for trainer partnership Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero.
Although not quite as emphatic as their 23-5 success of 2021, Ireland matched their feat of last year by winning the Prestbury Cup with 18 wins to 10, helped by that man, Willie Mullins, who was crowned top trainer for a fifth successive year with six winners.
Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day 4 results:
- 13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle won by Lossiemouth (11/8f)
- 14:10 McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle won by Faivoir (33/1)
- 14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle won by Stay Away Fay (18/1)
- 15:30 Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase won by Galopin Des Champs (7/5f)
- 16:10 St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase won by Premier Magic (66/1)
- 16:50 Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase won by Impervious (15/8)
- 17:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle won by Iroko (6/1)
- Saturday's Virgin Bet Raceday tips at Kempton