Galopin Des Champs pictured with Paul Townend as he runs away from his rivals to land the Grade 1 Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle on Day 2 of the Punchestown Festival
Willie Mullins extended his dominance at the 2021 Punchestown Festival as Galopin Des Champs completed a Cheltenham/Punchestown double when landing the Grade 1 Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle.
Ireland’s champion trainer maintained his clean sweep of the Grade 1 races thus far this week as the five-year-old, who carries the colours of Audrey Turley, cruised through the field under Paul Townend to return home in isolation, recording a 12-length success over Gentlemansgame.
Townend himself was extending his advantage over Rachael Blackmore to six winners in the race to be crowned champion jockey.
Of his latest Grade 1 winner, Mullins said afterwards: “He looked very smart today stepping up to three miles. He looked fantastic. Paul just gave him a squeeze turning in and he took off and it was race over barring a fall.
Options will remain open for Galopin Des Champs in terms of next season but connections will be entitled to dream big after this display.
“He’s very slick over his hurdles. I said to Paul, ‘What did you think?’ and he said he could be a Stayers’ Hurdle candidate. I like to go chasing with them quickly. We’ll see,” Mullins added.
Townend commented: “That was straightforward. He settled well. I was in front a lot earlier than I anticipated. I won’t say too soon, because we won but it was a lot earlier than I anticipated. One good jump got me there, without setting sail. I was there and able to hang onto a little bit.
“He jumped super. He’d jump a fence if they want him to as well. There’s loads of options for him.”
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