Fastorslow Wins Second Punchestown Gold Cup

May 2, 2024

Winning jockey J.J. Slevin salutes the crowd. (Breandán Ó hUallacháin photo)

By Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Fastorslow (7/2) won back-to-back Punchestown Gold Cups with victory in Wednesday’s highlight at the Irish National Hunt Festival.

A winner of the race last season when defeating the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs, the Martin Brassil-trained French-bred was not given the credit his success deserved.

This afternoon he removed any doubts about his quality as a top-class steeplechaser as he defeated Galopin Des Champs (1/2 favourite) again to claim the Punchestown Festival’s premier prize.

Ridden, as last year, by J.J. Slevin, a cousin of top trainer Joseph O’Brien, Fastorslow was always prominent in the three miles 213 yards contest, where nine runners went to post.

The 2024 Irish Gold Cup and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs, who was attempting to emulate Sizing John as a winner of the three Gold Cups in one season – a feat achieved in 2017 – erred at a number of fences around the County Kildare racetrack – a place where he never seems quite at home. 

Fastorslow, an eight-year-old gelded son of Saint Des Saints, was always travelling comfortably and jumped with accuracy and speed. J.J. Slevin asked his willing partner to take the lead at the second last fence, which he duly did, and never relinquished the lead thereafter. 

The Willie Mullins-trained dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs then made his effort in this his fifth race of the season, but try as he did under jockey Paul Townend, the eight-year-old black son of Timos could not get to his chief rival, with Fastorslow winning by a length and a quarter at the wire.

Hewick (12/1), a previous winner of the American Grand National at Far Hills for trainer John ‘Shark’ Hanlon, was third for rider Jordan Gainford, two and a quarter lengths behind the runner-up. 

Fastorslow and J.J. Slevin return to the enclosure. (Breandán Ó hUallacháin photo)
Fastorslow and J.J. Slevin return to the enclosure. (Breandán Ó hUallacháin photo)

It was a third success for Fastorslow over Galopin Des Champs at Punchestown Racecourse, in what winning jockey J.J. Slevin described as “… a monster performance.”

Paying tribute to the successful handler, Martin Brassil, Slevin said:

“Martin is an unbelievable trainer. He doesn’t miss, ever. To get these horses in the shape he does is unbelievable. There’s a great team. Everybody works hard, everyone enjoys their work. The care the horses get, the attention to detail is second to none. He’s just a phenomenal trainer.”

It was a second Grade 1 victory for this year’s Boylesports Irish Grand National-winning rider Slevin at the Irish National Hunt Festival at Punchestown 2024 following the win of Banbridge in the William Hill Champion Chase on day one. 

For the winning owner, Seán Mulryan, a long-term sponsor at the Punchestown Festival, it was an emotional moment to win at his local racetrack.

“It’s our local track. There’s nothing better than this, all the local people, our friends, family, it’s very special. Last year was probably a bit of a shock but to win it two times in a row… at the moment we have to enjoy it.”

Fastorslow and successful connections. (Breandán Ó hUallacháin photo)
Fastorslow and successful connections. (Breandán Ó hUallacháin photo)

Discussing his now dual Punchestown Gold Cup winner, Mulryan added:

“In a lifetime, you could have a hundred horses and you’d never get a horse like him. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse that myself and Martin [Brassil, trainer] are lucky to have. And of course, this man [Martin Brassil] is an extraordinary man to care for a horse, to look after a horse. He had him absolutely spot on. He was a bit more confident than I was.”

Summing up the success succinctly, the quietly spoken successful handler Martin Brassil said:

“He turned up in just as good a shape – possibly a bit better than last year, and he obliged. He delivered what we were hoping.” 

Contributing Authors

Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin writes about Irish, British, French and Australian horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in the history of racing...

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