Cheltenham 2024 | The Cheltenham Triple | Galopin Des Champs

Galopin, Cheltenham

For Galopin Des Champs, legend beckons as he looks to retain the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup.

As the roar builds ahead of this year’s National Hunt pilgrimage to Gloucestershire, the countdown to Cheltenham 2024 is almost at an end.

Despite the wholly deflating news that Constitution Hill will not be running this year, this year’s edition promises again to bring classic competition.

So, with one giant void to fill, could Paul Townend and his trusty steed become the punters’ big favourite?


Greatness beckons

Whilst it may be true that Galopin Des Champs has not enjoyed the rousing success of his last run-up to the Festival, the past 12 months have still brought glitter.

Once again the king of Leopardstown, the 8yo gelding comes to Cheltenham having defended his Irish Gold Cup crown last month.

However, unlike Cheltenham 2023, the toast of the Willie Mullins crop has been beaten twice in build-up; both at Punchestown in Grade 1 company.

But Galopin Des Champs is nothing if not a comeback king.

Set to make it a Cheltenham double in 2022 after his win in the Martin Pipe Conditional Handicap, Galopin and Townend suffered agony in the Turners Novices’ Chase.

With a 12-length lead and further glory beckoning, his fall at the last was a stunner.

Yet, one year on, his sterling finish in front of the stands was the ultimate redemption story.


Fastorslow heads rivals

Though a considerable favourite for back-to-back wins – 5/4 with William Hill at time of writing – Galopin Des Champs has his hooves full and is in a very familiar Gold Cup crowd.

His main rival in the antepost looks to be 5/1 Fastorslow and for very good reason.

Indeed, the slate against Martin Brassil’s 8yo stands at 1-2, with defeat in both Punchestown Gold Cup and Chase either side of the summer jumps break.

Then finally coming out on top last time out in winning a second Irish Gold Cup, has that win now tipped the balance in Galopin’s favour?

Then of course, there is the enigma that is Shishkin.

Second to 13/2 Rachael Blackmore and Envoi Allen in the Ryanair last year, it feels like the now 10yo has unfinished business at Cheltenham.

Forced to pull-up in the Champion Chase in 2022, his prior two visits to the Festival saw victories in the SkyBet Supreme and the Arkle as overwhelming favourite.

Shishkin will be reliant on rain in the coming week, but remains a 13/2 punt with BetUK.

Ready to spoil all three parties, Gerri Colombe is poised in the shadows.

Runner-up to Galopin Des Champs in the Savills Chase over Christmas, the Gordon Elliott-trained son of Saddle Maker is looking himself to go one step further from last year’s Brown Advisory.

A race dominated by the Irish in the last five years, Elliott is yet to taste Gold Cup glory. Could Cheltenham 2024 be his time?



Of the bigger price punts, Hewick must be worth an e/w gamble.

Though the ground at Cheltenham is currently soft, with little rain in the forecast, if the ground does firm up a bit more, the King George VI winner will fancy his chances of a golden Grade 1 double.

Hewick’s only Cheltenham trip to date was as a faller in last year’s edition, but well in contention with four to jump, his chances are there.

Certainly, don’t count out Hewick if he’s in the shake-up at 20/1 with 888sport.

Two other contenders could complicate matters for the favourite.

Firstly, ahead of defending his Grand National crown next month at a heavier weight, Corach Rambler returns to the Festival seeking a third successive victory after a two-year stint in the Ultima Chase.

In his two trips in stepping down from the 4m trek since, Derek Fox came home in 5th and 3rd the last two outings, showing evidence of real progression in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock last November.

But will Corach Rambler be a tad rusty ahead of this big Aintree date? Perhaps, but the Ramblers-owned runner has already proven a liking for good to soft ground at 20s with BetVictor – the potential going come Friday.

One final interest, at an even steeper 50/1 shot with BetFred, might Nassalam carry his form over the Welsh border from Chepstow?

A winner in both the Welsh National Trial and National proper, Gary Moore’s stable has been in rare form this winter.

There will be serious questions over his position in far more elite company and over this trip, but other 50/1 shots have looked bigger punts.


Galopin Des Champs defends his crown in The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 15 March at 15:30 GMT. 

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