Willie Mullins vows to stick to the same routine as trainer seeks to claim third successive Cheltenham Gold Cup with Al Boum Photo
- Al Boum Photo has won the last two runnings of the Cheltenham Gold Cup
- He will prepare for tilt at third crown with one prep race on New Year’s Day
- The eight-year-old will seek to emulate Cottage Rake, Arkle and Best Mate
Willie Mullins-trained Al Boum Photo, winner of the last two runnings of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will tread an identical path to the Festival for the third season running with just one prep race in the Savills Chase at Tramore on New Year’s Day.
The eight-year-old potentially will be bidding to emulate Cottage Rake (1948-50), Arkle (1964-66) and Best Mate (2002-4) as three-time Gold Cup winners at the 2021 National Hunt Festival.
Mullins’ son and assistant Patrick said: ‘It’s a plan which seems to work. We have all these beautiful, fine chasers in the yard, the likes of Douvan, Florida Pearl, Hedgehunter, On His Own and Sir Des Champs, and they haven’t won a Gold Cup.
Al Boum Photo will tread an identical path to Cheltenham Festival for the third season running
‘Al Boum Photo doesn’t stand out from the crowd. He is not overly big or flashy and he is not a fantastic jumper but in March in Cheltenham he doesn’t miss.’
Meanwhile, stablemate Faugheen, who will be 13-years-old on January 1, is back in training. The 2015 Champion Hurdler went chasing for the first time last season, winning twice at Grade One level and being beaten a length by Samcro when third in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
Patrick added: ‘I look at his form rather than his age and what he is showing us at home. I imagine we will train him as normal and it he shows he’s still got all the enthusiasm and ability we’ll probably go again and if he doesn’t he doesn’t owe anyone anything.
‘The Gold Cup would be the dream – it would be incredible – but he could be a Ryanair Chase horse.’