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.
So, was it Robert Power or Paul Townend who was responsible for getting the “unbeatable’’ Benie Des Dieux beaten in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday? Here’s a thought, perhaps it was actually the genius of the remarkable Rachael Blackmore, writes
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.
After a sluggish start to the Festival, Willie Mullins’ team found stride late on Wednesday, upped the pace with a double on Thursday, and when Monkfish edged out compatriots Latest Exhibition and Fury Road in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, it was a third on the day and a sixth in total for the Closutton maestro.
The Willie Mullins-trained Burning Victory ran out a fortuitous winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle, the opening race of the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, after 5-2 favourite Goshen dramatically unseated rider Jamie Moore when miles clear at the final flight.
Now that the Government has closed schools and universities and childcare facilities, and put restrictions in place about mass gatherings, it might appear inconceivable that, immediately after identifying an in-situ case of Covid-19, the British government would have allowed Cheltenham to proceed.
Tonight’s Premier League game between Manchester City and Arsenal may have been postponed due to coronavirus fears but the message from Cheltenham this morning is the remainder of the festival will go ahead as planned.