Since the Second World War, only five horses have won the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in consecutive years.

One of them, Al Boum Photo, was trained by Willie Mullins – the legendary Irishman who has become the most prolific winner in Cheltenham Festival history.

And now with Galopin Des Champs, he could become the first trainer in nearly 80 years to have two back-to-back Gold Cup champions to his name.

Champs By Name, Champ By Nature

It’s fitting that in the centenary year of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Mullins is closing in on 100 Festival winners.

He’ll be hoping that one of them comes in the meeting’s flagship race, the Gold Cup, for which Galopin Des Champs leads the way in the Cheltenham betting odds at -100, ahead of Fastorslow (+400) and Shishkin (+650).

Those claiming a Cheltenham Festival offer will be sorely tempted to use it on Galopin Des Champs, one of a handful of ‘odds on’ horses at the meeting – which means that the implied probability of them winning is greater than 50%, in the eyes of the sportsbooks at least.

The eight-year-old will head to the meeting in fine form, having followed up a huge 23-length win in the Savills Chase in December with victory in the Irish Gold Cup in February.

Al Boum Photo (2019-20), Best Mate (2002-04), L’Escargot (1970-71), Arkle (1964-67), and Cottage Rake (1948-50) are the five horses to have won the Gold Cup in consecutive years. Galopin Des Champs is short odds to join them in 2024.

Six of the Best

Just six more winners is all that separates Mullins from an amazing 100 victories during his illustrious career at the Cheltenham Festival.

For context, the next best haul belongs to Nicky Henderson with 72, which just goes to show how far ahead of the game Mullins has been over the past decade or so.

The Irishman was crowned leading trainer at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival with six winners, so if he can replicate that feat then he will achieve the magnificent milestone in front of the packed Festival crowd this year.

Mullins certainly has the quality of horse at his disposal to pick up the half-dozen wins that he desires. Aside from Galopin Des Champs, there’s Ballyburn – an outstanding six-year-old that holds entries in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle. Whichever race he is entered into, the bay horse will go off as the sportsbook favorite.

Lossiemouth is the odds-on favorite to win the Mares’ Hurdle on the first day of the Festival, while day two of the meeting will see Fact to File and El Fabiolo sent off as market protagonists in their respective races.

The third day of the Festival could be a quieter one for the Mullins camp, if the betting odds are to be believed, but the Irishman could finish his week with triumphs for Dinoblue and, of course, Galopin Des Champs on the fourth and final day.

By our count, that’s at least six horses from the Mullins stable with a strong chance of prevailing – that remarkable 100-win mark at the Cheltenham Festival is edging ever closer.