THIS week’s Cheltenham Festival was a triumph for the French, with horses bred there winning half of the 14 Grade 1 races. This was two more than last year, while Ireland with five and Britain with a pair were both down one from last March.
Crowning glory of the week was the victory of Galopin Des Champs (Timos) in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup. In hurdling we have a new era with Constitution Hill. What can the monster Galopin Des Champs achieve over the larger obstacles?
Summarising the family of Galopin Des Champs does not take many words, as he and his full-sister Flute Des Champs (Timos) are the only blacktype horses in four generations of his damside of the equation. Apart from falling at the last when he had the race at his mercy in Cheltenham last March, Galopin Des Champs has never been headed over fences, and has now won six of his seven starts in that sphere. He ended his career over hurdles with back-to-back wins at the Cheltenham Festival and in a Grade 1 at Punchestown.
A son of Glenview Stud’s Sholokhov (Sadler’s Wells), Timos was a listed winner in France at three and four, but put in his best performances in defeat, beaten a length by Allied Powers in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly and running third to Duncan in the Group 2 Prix Foy. He failed to attract decent books of mares and has just a handful of winners from very limited runners.
The mating of Timos with the four-time flat winner Manon Des Champs, a daughter of Marchand De Sable (Theatrical), has been rewarding, being responsible for the listed Auteuil chase winner Flute Des Champs who was born a year before her Grade 1 winning full-brother.
What does £305,000 buy you? Yesterday, it was a Grade 1 Cheltenham winner, Stay Away Fay winning the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
Bred by Southeast Bloodstock and Owen Hickey, Stay Away Fay is a six-year-old son of the former Burgage Stud stallion Shantou (Alleged), and one of two winning offspring of the once-raced Augusta Bay (Oscar). He sold as a foal at Tattersalls Ireland for €31,000 to Mark Dwyer’s Oaks Farm, but there was no profit when he resold as a three-year-old for £39,000 at Goffs UK to point-to-point handler Matty Flynn O’Connor, Hamish Macauley and Mikey Doyle.
The following year, the gelding was a six-length winner of a Lingstown point-to-point on his debut, and a month later Tom Malone and Paul Nicholls signed for him at Tattersalls Cheltenham. His new owners had to be patient, and nine months later it was noted that Stay Away Fay had a breathing operation.
After a winning racecourse debut and a runner-up finish in a Grade 2, Stay Away Fay has now won a Grade 1. He is the latest winner at the highest level over jumps for Shantou, joining Airlie Beach, Death Duty, Briar Hill, and Morning Assembly, while his daughter Sweet Stream won the Group 1 Prix Vermeille.
Stay Away Fay’s dam is a daughter of the listed hurdle and chase winner Penneyrose Bay (Karinga Bay), and that mare’s siblings include the Grade 3 winner Latimer’s Place (Teenoso).