Al Boum Photo goes into the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup looking to become only the fifth horse in history to win the Blue Riband contest on three occasio
Al Boum Photo goes into the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup looking to become only the fifth horse in history to win the Blue Riband contest on three occasions.
Willie Mullins chaser has been successful at Cheltenham in the 3m2f contest in each of the last two years. If he repeats his feats of 2019 and 2020, he will match what Best Mate did in 2004 by landing a hat-trick in the race.
At the age of nine, Al Boum Photo may not have reached his peak yet over fences. He can be backed at 3/1 in the Cheltenham betting at Paddy Power for the Gold Cup. Given he has proved he gets the distance up the hill at Prestbury Park, it is no surprise he tops the ante-post market.
The Irish horse has taken exactly the same route to Cheltenham as he has done over the last two seasons. He made his seasonal reappearance in the Savills New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore. He was successful in the Irish track by 19 lengths, despite having to concede a lot of weight to his rivals.
Mullins’ runner will not appear on the track again until he lines up in the feature race of the Festival. The Irish trainer believes his horse is at his best when fresh and prefers to do the work on the gallops, rather than the racecourse.
Success on this occasion would really elevate Al Boum Photo alongside some of the great chasers in history. Arkle managed to win three straight Gold Cups in the 1960s, Golden Miller is a five-time winner from the 1930s, while Cottage Rake was successful on three occasions between 1948-1950.
New Challengers To Al Boum’s Crown
The test Al Boum Photo faces this year at Cheltenham is set to be very different to 2020 as there is a number of new challengers to his title. Some of last season’s leading novice chasers are now set to have their first appearance in the race.
Minella Indo finished a close runner-up in the RSA Chase last year and has looked good over fences at times this season, including when he won a Grade Two contest at Navan back in November.
Henry de Bromhead’s runner went off as the 5/2 favourite for the Grade One Savills Chase at Leopardstown on his most recent appearance. He made a mistake at the eighth fence which forced him to come down. Connections are confident he will learn from that error and will come back stronger later this season.
A Plus Tard was the winner of that race at Leopardstown where his stablemate Minella Indo fell so it is no surprise that he is 8/1 in the Gold Cup betting. At the age of seven, he will be one of the youngest horses in the Cheltenham contest this year.
The recent Leopardstown winner finished third in the Ryanair Chase in 2020. A step-up in trip looked to help the horse last month so it will be interesting to see how he performs over the additional distance in the Gold Cup.
This year’s race will be the 93rd edition of the chase and it will take place on the 19th March.