Ruby Walsh identifies key difference between Galopin Des Champs and Al Boum Photo

Our main man has his say on the Cheltenham Gold Cup winners...

Willie Mullins is one of the greatest trainers to have graced the game, but he has only saddled two horses to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory.

It was one of the few Grade 1s absent from his illustrious CV until Al Boum Photo took the honours in 2019 before successfully defending his crown the following year.

The Closutton handler did not have to wait too long for his next success in the Cheltenham Festival Blue Riband as Galopin Des Champs blitzed his rivals to claim last year’s edition.

While Al Boum Photo was lightly raced in the build up to the Gold Cup, Galopin Des Champs has taken in more racing and has, arguably, cemented his place in public consciousness compared to his predecessor.

So what makes the two horses so different despite both being high-class staying chasers?

Our resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby Walsh was Mullins’ number one jockey and remains a regular in the yard so he is better placed than most to answer that question, which he did on the latest episode of our Cheltenham Countdown podcast series.

Ruby Walsh:

Al Boum Photo wasn’t anyway harder on himself, he was a very quiet horse.

I would say Galopin Des Champs is just a better horse and is therefore able to recover and take those races whereas Al Boum had a big day in him and Willie got it out of him on the biggest day of all on two occasions.

To me that looks to be the difference.

Galopin Des Champs is very honest and does recover and even after looking at him after Christmas, you’re thinking ‘wow, what a performance,’ but to look at him on New Year’s Eve, he didn’t look like he’d had a run or you couldn’t see it in him.

He didn’t look light or tucked up – the strength was still there and he’s able to recover and I suppose that’s the same with humans as well as with horses.

Some players can play in every match and others can’t.

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