Ahead of next week’s Cheltenham festival, Al Boum Photo is expected to face a maximum of 12 rivals as he aims for a third back-to-back Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins’ runner will be counted among a select band of three-time victors of the festival if he can win again in next weekend’s showpiece, becoming the first horse to achieve such feat since Best Mate did in 2004.
The nine-year-old horse has won his only race starts so far this season and could be joined by compatriot Melon and Kemboy, although Melon is still in the Ryanair.
In addition to the Mullins’, Henry de Bromhead has 2 Irish-trained contenders in Minella Indo and A Plus Tard.
A Plus Tard did brilliantly defeating Kemboy in the Savills Chase in December, while compatriot Minella Indo was defeated by that Mullins runner the last times they face off in the Irish Gold Cup He will lock horns with another former victor in 2018 hero Native River, who is one of two runners for Colin Tizzard along with last year’s third placed Lost in translation.
Santini was defeated narrowly by Al Boum Photo last year and he is set to be one of Nicky Henderson’s duo runners, along with 2020 last-gasp RSA winner Champ, who made a decent return when second in the Game Spirit in February, and they were all covered with odds alongside the chase in Cheltenham, giving the punters huge winnings.
Bryony Frost and Paul Nicholls will team up with Frodon, 2019 winner at Ryanair Chase and victorious over three miles in the King George VI Chase tournament when they last met while Royal Pagaille is a major obstacle for Venetia Williams.
Venetia Williams also has Asoto contend with, as well as Tom George’s Black Op completing the home squad. Tritonic and Zanahiyr head 12 confirmations for weekend’s JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham festival.
Zanahiyr has been brilliant in Ireland this term coming out victorious in all his three-race starts and leads the ante-post market, although, hot on his heels is Alan King’s Tritonic. Runner-up at Royal Ascot in June, he has been victorious in the two races over hurdles, recently winning the Adonis event at Kempton by over 10 lengths.
A thoroughbred horse born in the United Kingdom, Quilixios, who use to race for Gordon Elliott is now with Henry de Bromhead. Quilixios, is another unbeaten horse runner at Cheveley Park Stud.
Willie Mullins can select from Haut En Couleurs–without competitive race since linking up with the champion trainer has come out victorious in France.
Grade One winner, David Pipe’s Adagio, and Joseph O’Brien’s Busselton are others in contention this weekend.
The Cob, trained by Ben Pauling has been supplemented for the Albert Bartlett on the muscle of his win at Doncaster. He is one of 18 contenders alongside Torygraph, Stattlerand Fakiera, heading the Irish event.
Horse trainer Paul Nicholls has Three under thru five, and Barbados Buck’s, Fergal O’Brien also has two contenders in Ask A Honey Bee, and Alaphilippe while Tom Lacey’s Adrimel is still in contention.
There are 13 remaining in the maiden Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase, with Mullins being a serious contender through Salsaretta ,Elimay, and Colreevy.