History was made on Friday afternoon at Prestbury Park as the Willie Mullins-trained, Paul Townend-ridden and Marie and Joe Donnelly-owned Al Boum Photo joined the illustrious band of back-to-back winners of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins waited a long time to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup but, having finally got his hands on the prize he craved most last year, he was again the toast of Prestbury Park today after 100-30 favourite Al Boum Photo provided another picture-perfect moment.
By the time the starter calls the field to order for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, just before 3.30pm on Friday, March 13, we may well have downgraded that old conundrum — how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? — to a first-round four-marker.
Lost amid the fanfare of the Jockey Club’s recent £45m (€51.6m) facelift of Prestbury Park, with its 6,500-capacity grandstand, new members’ facilities and improved bars, was a fresh expanse of artificial grass about the size of a tennis court just to the left of the jockeys’ weighing room.
It’s been less than a week since a 26ft statue of Pharoah Ramses II, or Ozymandias as the Greeks liked to call him, was rescued from its ignoble resting place beneath a suburban Cairo slum and surrounded by dirty, running water.