Brassil confident Fastorslow can mount bold Cheltenham challenge

Martin Brassil is relishing the prospect of running Fastorslow in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, confident his star performer will not let him down on the big occasion.

Brassil’s flag-bearer had got the better of reigning Cheltenham champion Galopin Des Champs in both the Punchestown Gold Cup last April and the John Durkan earlier this season, but suffered defeat at the hands of Willie Mullins’ charge in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last weekend.

Although beaten four and a half lengths, Fastorslow more than played his part in what was a terrific showpiece to the Dublin Racing Festival – and with the race run to suit the defending champion, Brassil was content with the performance of his charge.

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Fastorslow (left) taking on Galopin Des Champs (right) in the Irish Gold Cup
Fastorslow (left) taking on Galopin Des Champs (right) in the Irish Gold Cup (Damien Eagers/PA)

He said: “We were very happy with the run and he hadn’t run since November 26, so you have to be very happy with it.”

There was an argument to suggest Fastorslow may have been able to test Galopin Des Champs on the run-in if he had not been distracted by the front-running mount of Paul Townend at the final obstacle.

However, Brassil believes that is immaterial to the outcome of this particular battle.

“We might have got a flyer (at the last, if Galopin Des Champs had not jinked) but my horse was quick to spot what the other horse did and he just hesitated and got over the fence carefully,” explained Brassil.

“He was on the back foot then and Galopin Des Champs had him all the way to the line. However, I don’t think there would have been any different result I would say, he had the run of the race dictating it, so in that race he always had our measure.”

Fastorslow now heads to Prestbury Park as the general 4-1 second favourite for the Gold Cup, as he prepares to tackle the odds-on favourite for a fifth time, with the score currently 2-2, but Brassil is expecting a much deeper event on March 15 at a venue where his charge has performed well in the past.

Fastorslow and team after winning the John Durkan
Fastorslow and team after winning the John Durkan (PA Wire)

“If you headed into a Gold Cup only worrying about one horse, then you wouldn’t be doing too bad, but I’m sure there will be a lot more competition when we get to the race though,” he added.

“He seems to like Cheltenham, which is always a positive. He’s a horse who has never let us down and you can always depend on him to perform at his best. Sometimes that’s good enough and others you come up a bit short. If he continued to do that, there will be no one complaining.

“It’s five weeks today we’re working towards and we’re looking forward to it.”

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