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17th Mar 2023

AP McCoy pays Paul Townend ultimate compliment after Gold Cup winning ride on Galopin Des Champs

Niall McIntyre

Paul Townend has won his third Cheltenham Gold Cup after a stunning ride on Galopin Des Champs.

Going off as the 7/5 favourite, Townend dropped his ride in at the back of the bunch early on but made all the right moves, at all the right times.

He came off the bridle later than any other horse in the race and, despite some having questioned his staying ability over this 3 miles and two furlongs trip, the horse found loads as he kicked for glory up the Cheltenham Hill.

Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame gave chase up the run-in but he was never catching Willie Mullins’ sensational seven-year-old. Owned by Audrey Turley, Galopin Des Champs took a crashing fall when bound for victory in last years Turners’ Novices’ Chase but there was no such drama here.

It still was a dramatic race, however. Two former champions in A Plus Tard and Minella Indo pulled up, as did Stattler, while Ahoy Senor fell and brought Sounds Russian down with him. A Plus Tard was hampered by this fall and was pulled up soon after.

It was all about Galopin Des Champs and Paul Townend though, and both AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh were glowing in their praise of the in-form Cork jockey. McCoy actually said that it was one of the greatest rides he’s ever seen.

“As brilliant a ride as I’ve ever seen in any horse race,” said AP on Virgin Media Sport.

“Talk about the pressure, talk about riding a horse with bottle. Oh my God. He coped with it better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

“He was so cool, riding such a fancied horse, at the Cheltenham festival, in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. So cool…And he delivered,” added AP McCoy.

“I’d echo AP’s words completely. You’re coming to Cheltenham with all the pressure and to drop him right in and ride him the way he rode him,” said Ruby.

“To go and do what he did there – listening to lads like me giving out if he did something wrong. I didn’t miss him when he was too far back on Appreciate It. But he put his neck on the line here, and he delivered,” added the Kildare man.

“I agree with you,” replied Willie Mullins later on. “Paul is just so good under pressure. Ride of the week, maybe even ride of the year.”

“This race is just different. It’s a different level,” said the man himself soon afterwards.