Galopin Des Champs arrived as a warm favourite in 2023, with the latest Willie Mullins superstar being labelled by many as the most talented chaser in training. A winner of the Martin Pipe here in 2021, and falling at the last with the race at his mercy in the 2022 Turner’s Novices Chase, he warmed up for this with an eight-length success in the Irish Gold Cup. Also heading over from Ireland were defending champ A Plus Tard, 2021 winner Minella Indo, American Grand National hero Hewick, and Aintree Grand National champ Noble Yeats.
Paul Nicholls’s hugely impressive King George hero Bravemansgame led the home team’s challenge. In addition, there were the talented but enigmatic Ahoy Senor, and Protektorat, who had run a fine race to finish third in 2022, also fancied to go well.
- 1st – Galopin Des Champs 7/5F, Jockey: Paul Townend, Trainer: Willie Mullins
- 2nd – Bravemansgame 6/1, Jockey: Harry Cobden, Trainer: Paul Nicholls
- 3rd – Conflated 22/1, Jockey: Sam Ewing, Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Prize Money Breakdown
- 1st – £351,991.08
- 2nd – £132,903.57
- 3rd – £66,616.07
- 4th – £33,428.57
- 5th – £16,928.57
- 6th – £8,616.07
- 7th – £4,428.57
Tote and Forecast Payouts
- Tote Win – £2.40
- Tote Places – 1st – £1.80, 2nd – £2.40, 3rd – £4.60
- Exacta – £12.50
- Computer Straight Forecast (CSF) – £8.83
- Trifecta – £157.80
- Tricast – £127.76
Ahoy Senor was sent straight into the lead by Derek Fox, with Shark Hanlon’s Hewick grabbing second spot and seeming content to track the bold-jumping front runner. Of the fancied horses, Bravemansgame appeared to have the most advantageous early position, grabbing a spot against the rail just off the pace. Galopin Des Champs had only one behind as they headed into the back straight for the first time.
Turning back into the home straight, there was little change in the order – other than Protektorat being pushed into third by Harry Skelton. At the other end of the field, Galopin Des Champs put in a couple of scruffy leaps, whilst stablemate Stattler was struggling badly before being pulled up after the 11th. Heading out for the second circuit, the strong pace took a toll on Minella Indo, who was also pulled up.
The big moment of drama then came at the 17th fence. Having been just about foot perfect throughout, Ahoy Senor clipped the top of the obstacle and came down, bringing down the unfortunate Sounds Russian and effectively ending the race of A Plus Tard.
Left in the lead, Hewick took the field into the closing stages, followed by Bravemansgame, Protektorat and Conflated. Moving onto the heels of the leading group – under an ice-cool Paul Townend – came Gallopin Des Champ, seemingly full of running. Hewick came down with a tired fall at the last, as the market leader and Bravemansgame set sail for the line. The Irish champ ultimately had too many guns for the gallant runner up, and powered seven lengths clear in impressive style.
A third win in the Cheltenham showpiece for both Willie Mullins and Paul Townend, who was widely praised for producing one of the rides of the season.
- 1. Ahoy Senor – SP: 14/1, Trainer: Lucinda Russell, Jockey: Derek Fox
- 2. A Plus Tard – SP: 4/1, Trainer: Henry De Bromhead, Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
- 3. Bravemansgame – SP: 6/1, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Harry Cobden
- 4. Conflated – SP: 22/1, Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Jockey: Sam Ewing
- 5. Eldorado Allen – SP: 100/1, Trainer: Joe Tizzard, Jockey: Brendan Powell
- 6. Galopin Des Champs – SP: 7/5F, Trainer: Willie Mullins, Jockey: Paul Townend
- 7. Hewick – SP: 40/1, Trainer: John Joseph Hanlon, Jockey: Jordan Gainford
- 8. Minella Indo – SP: 20/1, Trainer: Henry De Bromhead, Jockey: Nico de Boinville
- 9. Noble Yeats – SP: 14/1, Trainer: Emmet Mullins, Jockey: Sean Bowen
- 10. Protektorat – SP: 25/1, Trainer: Dan Skelton, Jockey: Harry Skelton
- 11. Royale Pagaille – SP: 50/1, Trainer: Venetia Williams, Jockey: Charlie Deutsch
- 12. Sounds Russian – SP: 50/1, Trainer: Ruth Jefferson, Jockey: Sean Quinlan
- 13. Stattler – SP: 16/1, Trainer: Willie Mullins, Jockey: Mr P W Mullins