- Galopin Des Champs won the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup for Willie Mullins
- It meant the Irish champion trainer mopped up four Grade One contests
Much more of this and the promotions and advertising departments at Leopardstown racecourse will need to convene to rename their flagship meeting.
The Dublin Racing Festival on Saturday became The Mullins Racing Festival as Willie, Ireland’s champion trainer, mopped up all four Grade One contests — with three of the victors being ridden by his nephew, Danny.
It was, Danny said with a beaming smile, the ‘best day of my career’ after he had guided Dancing City, Kargese and Il Etait Temps home in the first three races (at combined odds of 534-1) but the biggest success came last — Galopin Des Champs in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup.
A 1-3 winning favourite of a four-horse race would not usually make great headlines but Galopin Des Champs is different — the outstanding winner of last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup will return to defend his crown in 40 days with an aura of invincibility.
He does so on the back of a performance that got faster and sharper the longer it went on and the manner in which Galopin Des Champs turned Fastorslow, a rival who had beaten him twice in 2023, from the last fence was both thrilling and brutal.
Galopin Des Champs won the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup during the Dublin Racing Festival
Rider Paul Townend said Galopin Des Champs ‘sets the standard’ on a big day in racing
‘This was a big day and he sets the standard,’ said rider Paul Townend. ‘This was a sweet feeling and makes up for missing out on the earlier ones. I knew I had a chance because Danny wasn’t in this race.
‘This fella was the big bullet and he hit the bullseye. This lad is so honest, he tries his best for you all the time. On his day, he is different to anything else in this [Gold Cup] division. Sure, he’s the Gold Cup winner. You can’t knock him. He’s got everything.