Galvin sets sights on Gold Cup after charging to Savills Chase victory

Galvin sets sights on Gold Cup after charging to Savills Chase victory as emotional Gordon Elliot toasts unexpected win to end ‘tough year’ following suspension

  • Galvin charged past A Plus Tard to win at the Leopardstown Savills Chase   
  • The Gordon Elliott trained horse is now up to second-favourite for the Gold Cup
  • Elliott was banned six months this year and admitted it was an emotional win 

Galvin, considered more of a Grand National prospect by trainer Gordon Elliott at the start of the season, is into second favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after a last-gasp victory in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown.

Elliott confirmed the sights of the Davy Russell-ridden 7-1 shot would now be set on Cheltenham rather than Aintree after his short-head defeat of Rachael Blackmore-ridden odds-on favourite A Plus Tard with 2018 winner Kemboy third.

A Plus Tard still heads the betting with Coral for the Gold Cup in which he was second last season but he was eased to 9-4 with Galvin’s odds halved to 8-1.

Galvin was ridden to victory in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown by Davy Russell on Tuesday 

Galvin’s win in the 3m 6f National Hunt Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival is credited to trainer Ian Ferguson after owner Ronnie Bartlett temporarily moved the horse in the aftermath of the uproar caused by the picture of Elliott sitting on a dead horse on his gallops which led to the trainer’s six-month suspension.

That added extra emotion to Tuesday’s win for Elliott, who said: ‘I had a tear in my eye after the race. I am not afraid to say it. We have had a rough year. Ronnie Bartlett is a good owner, a friend and a gentleman.

‘I thought Galvin might have an each-way chance but I did not expect that performance.

‘I think the 3m 2f trip of the Gold Cup will suit him well. If he can get into a rhythm he would come home very strong.’

Russell took a last-gasp victory to put favourite A Plus Tard into second-place on Tuesday 

Galvin’s only defeat in his last eight races was when second to Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon in the Champion Chase at Down Royal in October.

But Elliott said the run had given his team confidence to be more positive about Galvin with confirmation he was a player at the top level.

A Plus Tard’s defeat has to be a disappointment especially as he looked the probable winner at the final fence.

Maybe his trainer Henry de Bromhead is not quite firing on all cylinders this week. His Gold Cup winner Minella Indo was pulled up in the King George VI Chase and only four wins from his last 59 runners is well below his expected strike rate.

Gordon Elliott is now hoping Galvin can continue winning at Cheltenham and the Gold Cup 

After the King George win of Willie Mullins-trained Tornado Flyer and the retirement of Colin Tizzard’s 2018 Gold Cup winner Native River, the list of British Gold Cup hopes is looking thin.

Dan Skelton’s Protektorat is the shortest priced at 14-1 with Nicky Henderson’s Champ at 16-1 but he looks likely to go the Stayers’ Hurdle route after his Long Walk Hurdle win at Ascot.

Most memorable performance at Leopardstown came from Mullins-trained Galopin Des Champs.

Last season’s Festival winner jumped flawlessly and hardly broke sweat to win the 2m 5f Beginners Chase.

He is 5-2 favourite ahead of Kauto Novices’ Chase one-two Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor for the Festival’s three-mile novice chase. Mullins said: ‘I thought he was good but I didn’t think he was that good. That was something else.’

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