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.
Willie Mullins is excited about the prospect of Al Boum Photo defending his Cheltenham Gold Cup crown three weeks tomorrow, and feels his charge has a “fantastic chance” of successfully doing so. Whilst he acknowledges history is against Joe Donnelly’s gelding, he doesn’t believe this year’s opposition is any tougher than the field he readily took care of in 2019.
We’re three weeks and around four hours removed from the flag dropping to announce the commencement of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Gordon Elliott, who will hope to win it with Abacadabras, is in top form.
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.
Willie Mullins has had many great days in racing but, as he debriefed the media in a packed winner’s enclosure, it was hard to escape the sense that few meant quite as much to Ireland’s champion trainer as Faugheen’s epic victory in the Flogas Novice Chase on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival.
It’s been another stunning year for the Townends, with Paul reaching Gold Cup nirvana and Jody battling back bravely to the winner’s enclosure after overcoming a broken back. Though little sister won’t easily let big brother forget he missed her big moment in Galway