IF Galopin Des Champs had stood up at the final fence at Cheltenham, he would have won by 25 lengths in my estimation and that would put him just 5lb below the career-best effort put up by Allaho in the Ryanair Chase an hour later.
The closing stages of the Turners Novices’ Chase left the Cheltenham crowd gasping as Galopin Des Champs (170?) slithered to the floor having looked to have cleared the final fence with aplomb on the way to confirming himself the leading novice chaser of his year.
Bob Olinger (122) came home unchallenged with the look of a horse who was at full stretch to even raise a gallop as Rachael Blackmore nudged and cajoled him to the line to record a time-figure someway short of his best.
A split screen comparison with Allaho (175) is very revealing and illustrates Galopin Des Champs is not just the runaway train which he had looked at Leopardstown. On joining the races from the last of the fences in the chute from the two-and-a-half-mile start, Allaho quickly established a lead and left the ground at the first fence on the course proper 2.7secs ahead of Galopin Des Champs at the same spot in his race.
The gap between the Mullins duo stretched to 3.4secs at the first obstacle in the back straight. At this point Galopin Des Champs started to roll and, after covering the back straight and the run down the hill quicker than Allaho, the novice had reduced the gap to just 1.2secs when they both reached the third last fence and it was the same at the final fence.
As the clock portrays Galopin Des Champs and Allaho to be travelling at a similar speed, my estimate on the winning margin in the Turners could have been around 25 lengths at the line, assuming Bob Olinger climbed the gruelling Cheltenham hill in the manner which he did unaccompanied.
A similar comparison with handicap winner Coole Cody (158) showed Galopin Des Champs to be 20 lengths ahead of the Evan Williams-trained 145-rated chaser after being 10 lengths adrift early in the comparison.
As an estimate, I would rate Galopin Des Champs’ performance at around 170 with Allaho improving slightly on last season’s victory to post a career best of 175.
Eldorado Allen (162) attempted to keep tabs on Allaho in the Ryanair before eventually being outpointed for second by Janadil (164). Colin Tizzard’s eight-year-old deserves extra credit for his efforts to chase the winner as he played a huge part in forcing Willie Mullins’ dual Ryanair winner to record a career best time-figure.
So long as the son of Khalkevi has not left his race at Prestbury Park he looks the one to beat in the Betfair Bowl at Aintree.
It was also a career-best performance by Coole Cody who has enjoyed a fantastic season at Cheltenham. Adam Wedge produced a power-packed finish from the 11-year-old who surprisingly came home faster than Allaho, posting 59.9secs from the third last fence.
It was no surprise Imperial Alcazar (151) could not resist the challenge of Evan Williams’s gelding, although I still have him improving on his win in the Timeform Novices’ Chase. Fergal O’Brien’s eight-year-old was having just his fourth run over fences and should be on the shortlist for any future handicaps at Cheltenham where he now boasts a record of 1-0-1-2.
More overleaf >>