Handicapper’s Blog: Martin Greenwood on the 2024 Boodles Gold Cup

16 Mar 24

The Irish, and in particular Willie Mullins, continued their domination of the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup as Galopin des Champs retained his crown, writes BHA Handicapper Martin Greenwood.

Mullins notched up his fourth win in the last six years, and achieved his second back-to-back success with the same horse in that period. Al Boum Photo was no slouch as he showed when winning the race in 2019 and 2020, but Galopin des Champs is a better animal in my opinion. He was the highest-rated horse in training going in to the race on 179, mainly based on his demolition of Bravemansgame and co in the 2023 Gold Cup.

Although Galopin des Champs had endured a couple of blips in his next two starts, he looked the force of old when slamming his rivals at Leopardstown in December and February, and continued his fine form when cementing his place at the top of the tree on Friday. He probably wasn’t as visually impressive as the previous year but was always in control after coming through to challenge, and probably idled a little up the hill. Historic standards suggest low to mid 170s for this running and I have Galopin des Champs ‘only’ performing to 174, but the pre-race 179 obviously still stands.

Gerri Colombe plugged on gallantly for second, three and a half lengths behind the winner, and posted a personal best of 170, the same rating as Fastorslow who unseated before the race had really began.

The next horse home was last year’s Grand National winner Corach Rambler who stayed on very stoutly from way off the pace, and posted a new mark of 162 (from 159) which makes him 3lb ‘well in’ for the next renewal of that race in 4 weeks’ time. It was an excellent run and hopefully the tough race he had here won’t leave its mark in his quest for the Grand National again. Unsurprisingly, he went clear favourite straight after this race.