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Al Boum Photo delivers Gold-en result for Willie Mullins

First Gold Cup triumph after six near-misses

Al Boum Photo delivers Gold-en result for Willie Mullins

First Gold Cup triumph after six near-misses

Al Boum Photo
Al Boum Photo Picture:Pat Healy Photography

Al Boum Photo Horseform gave trainer Willie Mullins his first victory in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup following a dramatic race for the showpiece event at the Prestbury Park course.

Leading at the second-last fence, Al Boum Photo (12-1) dug deep for jockey Paul Townend, who was also winning the Gold Cup for the first time.


Anibale Fly stayed on strongly to finish second, two and a half lengths away, with Bristol De Mai another three and three-quarter lengths back in third.

After six second places, Mullins finally broke his Gold Cup hoodoo. His three other runners – Kemboy, Bellshill and Invitation Only – failed to finish. It was later reported Invitation Only had suffered a fatal injury.

Mullins said: “I’ve got used to the disappointment of finishing second.

“I thought Bellshill would take a lot of beating, but Ruby (Walsh) wasn’t happy with him and pulled him up early. To have three of the four runners out of the race before they came to the second-last first time round – I was depending on one.

“Every time I looked at Paul, his body language told me was very happy and the horse was relaxed.

“When he came over the last, I just looked at the winning post and thought nothing would come and get him unless he stops or runs out or something like that.

“I was here when my dad (Paddy Mullins) won with Dawn Run and I didn’t get home for two days.

“I sort of resigned myself to never winning a Gold Cup. Certain jockeys may never win the feature race of their lives, like the Grand National or the Champion Hurdle. I thought maybe I’m not going to be lucky.”

He added: “It was Paul’s plan to jump out and get a position and just keep jumping and getting balanced. From an early stage he got him jumping in a rhythm. Every time he needed a squeeze, the horse responded.

“Paul started off with us when he was 17. He was riding as a claimer for me and he won the Galway Hurdle for John Kiely and that really put him on the scene.

“He has just been unlucky he has been alongside Ruby. Hopefully he might be champion jockey for the second time and he is out in front. I’m sure like any jockey this will be a lifetime achievement for him.”

An emotional Townend – who hit the headlines for the wrong reason with Al Boum Photo at Punchestown last season, dramatically running out when in the lead – said: “I can’t believe it. It’s the Gold Cup, there’s only one a year and I never dreamt I’d win it.

“Like any race, when you’re going well it’s so simple.

“It’s unbelievable and I’m privileged to be riding for Willie Mullins.”

Anibale Fly ran a huge race to better this third place from 12 months ago.

His trainer Tony Martin said: “He’s run a blinder, but this was the one time I didn’t want Willie to win the Gold Cup!

“He is in the National again and obviously he was placed in it last year after running so well in the Gold Cup before, but he’s had a hard race there.

“We’ll just have to see how he is, it’s only three weeks away.”

Nigel Twiston-Davies had a word for those who might have written off the chance of Bristol De Mai.

He said: “The experts are the experts and I haven’t got a clue why they are experts. He was the joint top-rated in the race and he got beat, so maybe they are right!

“He’s been very sound this year. When he ran in this two years ago he’d had problems, but he’s been fine this year.

“He’s just top class, not just at Haydock, anywhere – he’s just finished third in the Gold Cup.”

Defending champion Native River was fourth, with Presenting Percy, the 100-30 favourite, in eighth.

The latter’s rider, Davy Russell, said: “We didn’t get on great. It didn’t really happen.”
At The Races




151529
R4 GB - CHELTENHAM 15 March 2019
Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) 5U C1, 5294m
FP
 
Horse
Age & Sex
Trainer
Jockey
WT
SP
 
1st  
1. AL BOUM PHOTO (FR)
7yo Gelding
WILLIE MULLINS
PAUL TOWNEND
74.5
$13.00
 
BUCK'S BOUM (FR) - AL GANE (FR)
MRS J DONNELLY
2nd  
2. ANIBALE FLY (FR)
9yo Gelding
A J MARTIN
B J GERAGHTY
74.5
$23.00
 
ASSESSOR (IRE) - NOUBA FLY (FR)
MR JOHN P MCMANUS
3rd  
4. BRISTOL DE MAI (FR)
8yo Gelding
N A TWISTON-DAVIES
DARYL JACOB
74.5
$19.00
 
SADDLER MAKER (IRE) - LA BOLE NIGHT (FR)
 MR SIMON MUNIR & MR ISAAC SOUEDE
4th  12. NATIVE RIVER (IRE)
9yo Gelding
C L TIZZARD
RICHARD JOHNSON
74.5
$7.00
5th  5. CLAN DES OBEAUX (FR)
7yo Gelding
P F NICHOLLS
MR H COBDEN
74.5
$6.00
6th  8. ELEGANT ESCAPE (IRE)
7yo Gelding
C L TIZZARD
TOMMIE O'BRIEN
74.5
$21.00
7th  15. YALA ENKI (FR)
9yo Gelding
MISS VENETIA WILLIAMS
CHARLIE DEUTSCH
74.5
$101.00
8th  13. PRESENTING PERCY (GB)
8yo Gelding
PATRICK G KELLY
MR D N RUSSELL
74.5
$4.33
9th  16. SHATTERED LOVE (IRE)
8yo Mare
GORDON ELLIOTT
J W KENNEDY
71.0
$21.00
99th  7. DOUBLE SHUFFLE (IRE)
9yo Gelding
T R GEORGE
MR J J BURKE
74.5
$101.00
99th  14. THISTLECRACK (GB)
11yo Gelding
C L TIZZARD
TOM SCUDAMORE
74.5
$13.00
99th  3. BELLSHILL (IRE)
9yo Gelding
WILLIE MULLINS
R WALSH
74.5
$10.00
99th  9. INVITATION ONLY (IRE)
8yo Gelding
WILLIE MULLINS
MR P W MULLINS
74.5
$34.00
99th  6. DEFINITLY RED (IRE)
10yo Gelding
BRIAN ELLISON
DANNY COOK
74.5
$51.00
99th  11. MIGHT BITE (IRE)
10yo Gelding
N J HENDERSON
NICO DE BOINVILLE
74.5
$15.00
99th  10. KEMBOY (FR)
7yo Gelding
WILLIE MULLINS
D J MULLINS
74.5
$9.00


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