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Friday 19th February 2021
Al Boum Photo Going for Gold Cup Hat-Trick

The Willie Mullins-trained Al Boum Photo is the clear favourite to win this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup, the blue riband event at the Wellchild Cheltenham Festival in March.

Victory would mean a third successive triumph in the race for the nine-year-old and see him match the legendary Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966) and Best Mate (2002, 2003, 2004).

A 19-length victory in the New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore in his most recent outing gave his supporters a boost in confidence ahead of his return to Prestbury Park, but it will be far from an easy task.

ITV will broadcast six races from Cheltenham per day live with coverage also available on Racing TV and there will be interest around the world with the help of amongst others.

The Gold Cup has been the only plan for Al Boum Photo for the last couple of years, and considering the magnitude of the task, the lack of hype surrounding the horse is somewhat surprising.

A Plus Tard and Royale Pagaille are closest to him in the betting and the likes of Nicky Henderson’s duo of Champ and Santini are not to be underestimated.

Easier to back are Frodon, Kemboy and Native River, who will all head to the mecca of jumps racing on the back of emphatic victories of late.

Kemboy, also trained by Mullins, came back to form in the Irish Gold Cup, ending a dire run for the nine-year-old, and it may have just come at the perfect time for Cheltenham.

Mullins may not want to jeopardise Al Boum Photo's chances of landing the rare feat of three Gold Cups by saddling a dangerous stablemate for the race, so Kemboy also gets an entry in the Stayers’ Hurdle as an alternative.

Minella Indo, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore, was one of those beaten by Kemboy in the Irish Gold Cup, having massively underperformed.

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