Skip to content

Punchestown: Fastorslow beats Galopin Des Champs to keep hold of Gold Cup crown

Fastorslow levelled the scores with his old rival Galopin Des Champs in a thrilling Punchestown Gold Cup finale; Dancing City followed up success at Aintree and Jody Townend tasted Grade One glory aboard Redemption Day

Fastorslow had too much for Galopin Des Champs
Image: Fastorslow had too much for Galopin Des Champs

Fastorslow repeated his victory of last year as he once again got the better of Galopin Des Champs in the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup.

Martin Brassil's charge was a shock 20/1 scorer from the Cheltenham Gold Cup hero 12 months ago, but he went off much shorter odds at 7/2 this time, with Galopin Des Champs 1/2 favourite.

Partnered by J J Slevin, Fastorslow travelled particularly well as Conflated set the early gallop and clearly had plenty still to give as the race began in earnest.

Slevin had his mount in pole position with two fences to jump and while Galopin Des Champs tried to challenge on the run to the last, he never really looked like getting on top.

Fastorslow cleared the last in style and galloped home for a one-and-a-quarter-length win over the dual Cheltenham champion, with King George winner Hewick finishing with real purpose to grab third, beaten a further two and a quarter lengths.

Sean and Bernardine Mulryan own Fastorslow and the former said: "It's Punchestown, our local track, there is nothing better than this! All our friends and family are here, it's very special.

"To win it last year was a bit of a shock, but to win it two years in a row is something that can probably never be repeated again. We have to enjoy every second."

Also See:

Brassil has trained plenty of high-class horses in the past and sent out a Grand National winner in Numbersixvalverde back in 2006, but he is certain Fastorslow is the best he has trained.

He said: "He's turned up in just as good a shape (as last year) and possibly even better. JJ said he was running away with him for the first mile - he's the best horse that I've ever had."

The winner had unseated Slevin seven fences from home at Cheltenham and the rider was thrilled to gain compensation, with Fastorslow registering a third career win over Galopin Des Champs having also beaten him in the John Durkan here in December.

Slevin said: "He's an absolute monster!

"He's some horse and is by far the best horse I've ever ridden.

"He was actually keen for the first mile and I was very worried about that. He had a bit of a go at the first down the back and came out of my hands, but he's an absolute machine.

"It was a long way home (from Cheltenham) but, at the end of the day, it is a horse race and you have to move on. There's a lot of people in worse situations."

Willie Mullins, meanwhile, felt the winner had simply been the better horse on the day.

He said: "Fastorslow is always good this time of the year and around this track. JJ gave him a very brave ride, he didn't wait around for our fellow or anything like that - he went out and took the race by the scruff of the neck and it worked for him.

"Paul (Townend) set out to make the running and the race sort of overtook him. There is no point in forcing a horse to make the running and I don't think he jumped well enough to make the running either.

"I'm happy with what happened and I think the better horse on the day won the race."

Dancing City backs up Aintree win with gritty Punchestown success

Dancing City had to dig deep to repel the challenge of fellow Willie Mullins runner High Class Hero in the Channor Real Estate Group Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

The winner was sent off as the 7/4 favourite in the hands of Paul Townend having claimed Grade One glory at last month's Grand National meeting at Aintree, but he had ground to find with Stellar Story, who had beaten him by just over seven lengths in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham.

Grade One glory for Dancing City
Image: Grade One glory for Dancing City

Dancing City was clearly travelling well at the top of the straight and while he easily had the measure of Stellar Story, High Class Hero served it up to him after jumping the last.

Townend's mount responded to every urging though, and while the second tried his best, Dancing City held a half-length advantage at the line.

Get racing news on your phone
Get racing news on your phone

Never miss a story with all the latest racing news, interviews and features on your phone. Find out more

Trainer Willie Mullins said: "He did quite well coming back from Aintree. We haven't done that before - Cheltenham, Aintree, Punchestown. It looks achievable so we might do more of it in the future!

"He didn't show how good he was until we went out in trip.

"High Class Hero ran very well and looked for a minute that he might upset Paul."

Townend added: "He was [a good winner in Aintree] and I thought he had a hard race the last day.

"He has danced every dance, so to turn up here and perform was a big performance.

"He was disappointing at the start of his career, but he is more than making up for it now."

Redemption Day at Punchestown for Jody Townend

Redemption Day came from last to first to give rider Jody Townend a first Grade One win in the Race & Stay At Punchestown Champion I.N.H. Flat Race.

Trained by Willie Mullins, Redemption Day finished second in this contest two years ago before enduring a 611-day absence. But following a Fairyhouse win last month, he enjoyed his moment in the spotlight.

Redemption Day and Jody Townend celebrate
Image: Redemption Day and Jody Townend celebrate

Stablemate Jasmin De Vaux was sent off the 6-4 favourite to follow up his Cheltenham bumper success, but Patrick Mullins was pushing along from some way out, while in contrast Townend was making smooth progress through the field having sat at the rear in the early stages.

Redemption Day was cantering over his rivals at the top of the straight and when Townend popped the question, he responded in style to run out a three-and-three-quarter-length winner.

The winning rider said: "Once he settles, he has some engine. He has the turn of foot of a Flat horse. With the turn of foot he has, once he settled, I actually didn't mind what they did.

"He went so asleep again on me again, you'd wonder what he is going to do and how much he is going to find. He did the same in Fairyhouse, he just picks up and I was still there too soon again today. Thankfully, it paid off.

"I just love the horse, I was second on him two years ago to Facile Vega here.

On riding her first Grade One winner, she added: "I can't believe it to be honest, it is unreal!"

Mullins was delighted to see Townend strike a blow at the highest level and said: "That's fantastic for Jody, her first Grade One.

"She's always does her own thing in her races and it works! We often discuss what's going to happen but when the tape goes up, Jody just does what Jody wants to do.

"She's had some success, so we just have to take our hats off to her."

Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter
Follow Sky Sports Racing on Twitter

See the latest horse racing news, interviews and features from Sky Sports Racing

Around Sky