Horse Racing: Al Boum Photo, the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, will return to Tramore for his seasonal reappearance after trainer Willie Mullins decided not to race him in Saturday’s Many Clouds Chase at Aintree.
In the last three seasons, the Irish great trainer has followed a familiar path with the nine-year-old, winning the Grade Three Savills New Year Chase at Tramore on New Year’s Day before travelling to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which he won in both 2019 and 2020.
However, Mullins believed the horse was slightly undercooked when he finished third behind Minella Indo and A Plus Tard in the extraordinary third Gold Cup.
Mullins has proposed a return to the coastal track, with possibly one more run before returning to Cheltenham, after missing this weekend’s Grade Two Many Clouds Chase at Aintree, which featured Native River, Imperial Aura, and Protektorat.
“He’s in fantastic shape.” Mullins remarked, “I could have declared him for Punchestown, but we had a lot of runners there.”
“He’s ready to run, but I just thought that racing over three miles and one furlong against race-fit horses at Aintree could be too much for him.”
Elimay has returned to Aintree for a new mission
Elimay, who runs in the rescheduled Listed Unibet Houghton Mares’ Chase after racing was abandoned at Carlisle last Sunday owing to inclement weather, is one horse who will travel to Aintree this weekend.
Despite Mullins’ worries about taking the seven-year-old mare across the Irish Sea twice in one week – she finished second in the Mares’ Chase behind Colreevy at Cheltenham – he felt she would be the one to beat based on all known form.
“Traveling back and forth twice in a week is not ideal, and they experienced all four seasons on the way back from Carlisle, but they arrived safely,” he added.
“It’s not ideal to travel to England twice before the first run. She’s in good shape, and based on that, I believe she’ll take a battering.”
Townend is slated to return in the middle of the week.
Paul Townend, the stable jockey who rode Al Boum Photo to two Gold Cup victories, is also scheduled to return next week after dislocating his shoulder in a crash at Listowel in September.
“He’s been biking for work, but I’m thinking we should wait another week.” Perhaps we’ll begin with a mid-week meeting or something similar.
For Horse racing, horse racing live scores, horse racing match and other horse racing news follow Livematchupdates.com.