Galopin Des Champs

December 23rd, 2022 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there,

We were a little bit short of action on the turf last week but we had a treat at Punchestown on Monday when current Gold Cup favourite Galopin Des Champs and top novice chaser Appreciate It turned up for their seasonal debuts.

As you may be aware from my Gold Cup preview I am not convinced that Galopin Des Champs has the requisite stamina to win the Gold Cup and Monday’s race, over 2m 4f, was never going to shed any light on that quandary, and although the six-year-old came away to beat Fakir D’Oudairies by 13 lengths he was a little hesitant at a few of the jumps.

Lifetime Ambition, rated on 155, was just a length and a quarter further back, so depending on which line you favour the winner ran to 178 through the second or 170 through the third.

I know from a close contact that Willie Mullins did not dismiss the possibility of the winner dropping in trip to two miles this season, but with Energumene in the yard that would seem unlikely.

The bookmakers reacted by cutting Galopin Des Champs from a general 5/2 to 2/1 and 7/4, which is an overreaction to a performance that to my eyes was no more than workmanlike.

I was more impressed by the fencing debut of stable-companion Appreciate It in the 2m beginners chase.

Starting at 1/5 to beat vastly inferior opposition he jumped very well at times but was doing nothing in front, allowing Top Bandit to range up alongside between the last two fences before pulling clear to win by 13 lengths.

He is now down to a top price of 5/1 for the Arkle, although the trainer also has the option of the Turners or, less likely, the Brown Advisory over the extended 3m. However I expect the favoured choice will be the Arkle, where he may give Jonbon something to think about.

This is the time of year when you see the occasional gem hidden away on an AW card and two horses that would feature in next year’s Dark Horses if I were doing one would be Wigmore Street and Slipofthepen.

The former justified strong market support when pulling clear to win the 1m novice stakes at Kempton on Monday. The son of American Pharoah looked green when striking the front but the turn of foot he showed to beat a previous winner in third was impressive.

Over the same course and distance last month John Gosden introduced Slipofthepen, a son of Night Of Thunder bred by the late Queen. He was even more impressive and is something for the King to look forward to next year.

Talking of the All-Weather I have noted down a dozen or so horses that are limbering up nicely for a new year campaign. I intend to release their names in the Weekend Card in January, when I will also bring back the weekly Cheltenham Diary, with news as it comes through for the big meeting in March.

Talking of Cheltenham don’t forget that the 20% discounted offer for our Cheltenham services expires on the 31st December while, more topically, I am releasing my Daily Communiques for Boxing Day and the 27th December, featuring my thoughts for the King George and a few nuggets for lower-profile meetings.

Please refer to the online shop for further details.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude for your interest in our services this last year and to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2023.

Bye for now