Paul Townend on board Galopin Des Champs. Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Galopin Des Champs successfully defends Irish Gold Cup crown

Willie Mullins-trained winner now odds on for Cheltenham.

GALOPIN DES CHAMPS is odds on for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after registering back-to-back success in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Leading from flag-fall, Paul Townend was content to set a sedate pace on Willie Mullins’ 1-3 favourite, with his old rival Fastorslow never letting him get too far in front.

The pair had met three times in the past, with the score heading into this contest in favour of Martin Brassil’s chaser by two victories to one.

Team Closutton were determined to level the scores before heading to Cheltenham and Townend – who had picked the wrong Mullins-trained representative in the first three Grade Ones of the afternoon – was always in control.

J J Slevin attempted to make his move after the second-last and aimed to get the rail, but Townend was alive to it and made sure it was not straightforward, while Conflated was not completely out of it on the far side.

Galopin Des Champs jinked to his left approaching the last which just put Fastorslow off for a stride or two, while Conflated unseated Jack Kennedy, but just like at Christmas the winner’s most impressive part was the final 100 yards and he pulled four and a half lengths clear.

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