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Rachael Blackmore admits she was 'fortunate' to win opening race on Cheltenham Day 3

Paul Townend falls off Galopin Des Champs during the 13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase REUTERS/Matthew Childs

By Nick Robson, PA

Bob Olinger was handed victory in the Turners Novices’ Chase after Galopin Des Champs took a dramatic fall at the final fence in the opener at Cheltenham.

Galopin Des Champs looked certain to land the spoils when he jumped the last well clear of Bob Olinger, but he slipped and knuckled over a stride after landing and ditched Paul Townend onto the ground.

That left Bob Olinger (6-5) to come home unchallenged with Busselton picking up the pieces for second place in the four-runner Grade One heat, 40 lengths behind the winner.

Until that untimely exit everything had gone to plan for Galopin Des Champs. Willie Mullins’ six-year-old had jumped exuberantly in the early stages and had Bob Olinger under pressure before the race was turned on its head and the 5-6 favourite crashed out after seemingly clearing the last safely.

Bob Olinger’s rider Rachael Blackmore admitted the Henry de Bromhead-trained winner was fortunate.

She said: “It’s great to see Paul and Galopin are up and OK. It was their race to win. I don’t know what to say really, it’s fantastic to win, I’m delighted to win.

“I didn’t get into as good a rhythm as I thought I was going to. I thought that was my fate turning in, but that’s jumps racing.”

De Bromhead said: “You never want to win in those circumstances,but this game – always expect the unexpected and we’re delighted to win and we need to show a bit of joy as well.

“I was surprised to see him off the bridle so soon, obviously the other one is something else. I never thought I’d see another horse do that to him.

“He made a couple of mistakes so we still have to work on the jumping, but he jumped well on the first circuit.

“He’s still a work in progress, it was still only his third run over fences and he’s won a Grade Three and a Grade One.

“You don’t like to win a race like that, though.”


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