The one that got away

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Galopin des Champs, who was bred by GAEC des Champs, had the Grade 1 Turners Novices’ Steeple Chase in his bag when he slipped on reception after jumping the last fence way clear from Bob Olinger, his closest pursuer. Together with Paul Townend he came crashing down to the audible gasps of the spectators who had already started celebrating a performance that until that point had been absolutely flawless. “It’s just one of those things,” said his trainer Willie Mullins. “He was doing everything right the whole race. He landed properly and he just slipped after landing. We’ll move on now, but we have a very special horse on our hands. We can do anything we want with him now and maybe go back to two miles or two and a quarter.” Despite his fall, immediately after the race bookmakers offered odds of 3/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2023, which must be a small consolation for his breeders who were about to record their biggest success to date. Galopin des Champs is a son of Timos, who had come third in the Prix Foy in 2010 and Manon des Champs, a winner on the flat and placed over hurdles and fences. He is also the brother of Flute des Champs, a listed winner at Auteuil who finished fifth in the Grade 1 Prix Maurice Gillois, also known as the Grand Steeple-Chase for four-year-olds. Flute des Champs was owned by Damien Bonne, a trainer and driver of trotting horses, who also owned Galopin des Champs before he was sold to Mrs Audrey Turley to join the yard of Willie Mullins in Ireland.