- The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old looked set to dominate the sport
- Galopin Des Champs won the Cheltenham Gold Cup by seven lengths in March
- Fastorslow emerged on top again in last month’s John Durkan Memorial Chase
Galopin Des Champs will need to put in an improved jumping display if he is to win a Savills Chase at Leopardstown that has the potential to be the most significant race of the festive period.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old looked set to dominate the sport for the next few years when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup by seven lengths in March. That notion remained despite Fastorslow’s shock win in the Punchestown Gold Cup in April.
But when Martin Brassil-trained Fastorslow emerged on top again in last month’s John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown, questions were raised as Galopin Des Champs jumped untidily and finished third.
Patrick Mullins, assistant trainer to his father, said: ‘He didn’t jump well in the John Durkan but he’s schooled very well since. If he jumps better, he should be back to his best.
‘Fastorslow has beaten us twice, so it’s for us to come and beat him, not the other way around. Fastorslow sits top of that division at the moment. It’s probably the race of Christmas and the race of the year so far.’
Jockey Paul Townend celebrates on Galopin Des Champs after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival in March
Patrick Mullins, assistant trainer to his father, claimed that Galopin Des Champs ‘didn’t jump well in the John Durkan’ but he has improved since
The Savills Chase has some act to follow given the drama of the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day but the cast on show looks a step up in quality.
With Gordon Elliott’s four-time Grade One winner Gerri Colombe also running, it means the top three horses in the ante-post betting for the 2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup line up.
The cast also includes last season’s Ryanair Chase winner Envoi Allen, 2023 Irish Grand National winner I Am Maximus, last season’s Savills Chase winner Conflated and 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard.
The latter lost his form badly last season and struggled to recover from illness. But trainer Henry de Bromhead said: ‘He seems well.
‘We’re trying to find our form with him. We didn’t really see it last year but we didn’t get much opportunity to either.’