Al Boum Photo (100/30 favourite) became the first back-to-back winner of the £625,000 Gr1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup since Best Mate (2002, 2003 & 2004) with an electric success in Jump Racing’s Blue Riband event.
Ridden by Paul Townend, Al Boum Photo produced a scintillating leap at the final fence and held on gamely in the closing stages to deny the gallant Santini (5/1) to register a neck success in the extended three and a quarter-mile event.
Al Boum Photo, an eight-year-old son of Buck’s Boum also became the first horse since Kauto Star (2007 & 2009) to win the race twice. He enjoyed the same preparation for this year’s race as when he captured the 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup having won his only other start this in the G3 Savills Chase at Tramore on New Year’s Day.
Mullins is enjoying a special day in the Cotswolds, with this being his fourth winner in succession following the victories of Burning Victory (12/1, G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle), Saint Roi (11/2 favourite, Gr3 Randox Health County Hurdle) and Monkfish (5/1, G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle). Al Boum Photo’s success allowed Mullins to complete a 2,196/1 four-timer.
The master of Closutton, registering his seventh victory of the week at The Festival™ presented by Magners 2020 and his 72nd victory overall at the meeting said: “We’re delighted to win the race for the second year running with Al Boum Photo.
“We just decided not to break winning formula and just take in the same preparation as he did last year. Don’t break a winning formula when it works and it’s paid off thankfully.I thought this year’s Gold Cup wasn’t anything like last year’s. I was just thinking if he had a clear round and a bit of luck then it was all to play for.
“I was happy throughout and Paul was brave on him at the last. Paul’s plan came together and I’m delighted for him as well as Marie and Joe Donnelly, so I am just delighted.It’s fantastic and an absolutely unbelievable day. Paul does his own thing and he probably rides better under a little bit of pressure.
“It’s really, really good for him. I am delighted for Paul. To take over from someone like Ruby Walsh – Paul has come and stamped his authority on his season in Ireland riding for our yard.
“It is a tough act to follow, but he is Paul Townend, stable jockey to Willie Mullins and he is top-class – I’m really pleased for him.
“I asked what Paul was going to do and he sort of said what he was going to do. I think the horse just ignored the actions of Paul and he didn’t disappoint the horse – he let the horse do it. That’s a rider riding with huge confidence. It worked out and I am really happy and delighted for Paul.”
Mullins is now heading the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award with seven winners.