Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo will again be off to the seaside at Tramore on New Year's Day, and connections will not be disappointed if it's raining.
Willie Mullins started Al Boum Photo off at one of his favourite small tracks last year and he sees few reasons to change plans this time around.
The Savills Chase at Tramore has been upgraded to a Grade three from Listed level last year and Mullins says it's very much part of his plans.
Delighted to Announce @SavillsIreland as our sponsor of our recently upgraded grade 3 chase on New Years Day until 2022! @HRI_RAS @HRIRacing @TheIrishField @RacingTV @IrishRacing365 pic.twitter.com/PeEfMoTsco
— Tramore Racecourse (@TramoreRaces) November 5, 2019
“That formula worked last year so it mightn’t be the worst thing in the world to stick to that,” the champion trainer says. “Being fresh could be important to Al Boum Photo. I know being fresh for the Gold Cup is probably a help.
“Tramore is a definitive possible; we’re guaranteed to get nice ground down there. I don’t know if they’re getting enough rain at Leopardstown but I’m not going to risk him (on quick ground).”
First Gold Cup
“It was an unreal day for me because to me Bellshill and Ruby (Walsh) were going to do it. First of all I was disappointed Kemboy was gone at the first.
"Bellshill was then pulled up and then Invitation Only fell and I never dreamt your man (Al Boum Photo) would win it but he kept jumping and was doing everything right.
“I was disappointed for the other three horses, for the owners and the jockeys – and with Invitation Only the news wasn’t good – so for Al Boum Photo to win was a mixture of emotions.
“But I was amazed at the goodwill from everyone that we had finally won it. I had probably given up on winning it and had resolved not to be too disappointed.”
That Al Boum Photo was ridden by Paul Townend given what happened the pair at Punchestown the previous April added to the occasion. Townend pulled the horse away from the final fence when clear in a Grade One at the Kildare track.
“I was amazed that when the horse was going to the line at Cheltenham that I thought about it (the Punchestown incident),”
“I never thought about it when putting Paul on the horse for the Gold Cup. To me it was over and done with the following day. You have to move on.”
Trainers have an incredible ability to move on from adversity, possibly due to its frequency in racing. So when successful formulas come together, they like to repeat the dose.
Good news for all at Tramore Racecourse.