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Brassil excited for Galopin des Champs rematch in Irish Gold Cup

3 minute read

Trainer Martin Brassil is looking forward to stable star Fastorslow’s rematch with Galopin Des Champs in the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival.

FASTORSLOW winning the Punchestown Gold Cup at Punchestown in Naas, Ireland.
FASTORSLOW winning the Punchestown Gold Cup at Punchestown in Naas, Ireland. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Although Fastorslow was soundly defeated by Galopin Des Champs in the 2022 John Durkan Memorial Chase on his first start over fences in Ireland, the eight-year-old gelding has come out on top in their two subsequent meetings including in this season's renewal of the John Durkan in late November.

Whilst Galopin Des Champs subsequently reverted to his usual dominance with a twenty-three length success in the Grade 1 Savills Chase, Brassil is confident Fastorslow will improve for the run.

"I'm very happy with him, he's in a good place, he was ready to run at Christmas. He's a very easy horse to watch as he eats well, loves his work and thrives on what he does. It's a case of maintaining that," said Brassil.

"He was beaten a short head when the ground was terrible at Cheltenham a couple of years ago (Coral Cup) and the ground was soft enough there last year (second in the Ultima). He won the John Durkan on soft, he's versatile regards ground, we just felt that we didn't really need to run him on heavy ground (at Christmas) when the (Irish) Gold Cup was another option.

"Galopin Des Champs is a top-class horse, a Gold Cup winner, so he's always going to be hard enough to crack. Going back over three miles is a plus for him, we haven't raced against him in those conditions.

"I'd say we could possibly be the main challenger. I'm not saying we'll beat him every time we meet him, but I'm sure they've plenty of respect for my horse as I have for theirs.

"We were only hopeful he'd finish in the first three in the John Durkan, there was plenty of improvement to come from him, so hopefully there will be."

After a run at the Dublin Racing Festival, connections will have their sights firmly set on the Cheltenham Festival, with Fastorslow previously racing well at Prestbury Park.

"He's been beaten a short head and a neck at Cheltenham and An Epic Song was just touched off in the Coral Cup (last year), I'm sure one will get their head on the right side of it soon," added Brassil.

"We know he acts around there. The Ultima was only his fourth run over fences, his first handicap and he just came up a bit short, so there was always going to be improvement and thankfully he showed that in Punchestown.

"Because he'd won in France before we got him, some of the conditions of the races we'd liked to have run him in meant we couldn't, they couldn't have won a chase before May '21 and he'd won in September '19.

"There was no winners-of-one, not one chase on the programme, so we had to pitch him in the deep end, his second and third runs over fences were in Grade Ones.

"Doing that has helped him, he's not afraid of much, he enjoys what he's doing and is starting to think he's special, he'd better keep performing like it!"

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