By News Team
Last Updated: 15th March 2021
Friday 19th March. Save the date. It’s Al Boum Photo’s day with destiny. He bids to join racing greats Golden Miller, Arkle, and Best Mate in winning the Gold Cup in three consecutive years.
Ahead of the Gold Cup, check out the latest odds and offers. The big race starts at 3:05.
Before that, there’ll be three races. And Willie Mullins-trained horses were dominant in them last year, with Burning Victory starting the four-timer in the Triumph Hurdle. Brace yourself for the action, which is live on ITV Racing.
Here’s how it’ll unfold:
- County Hurdle (1:55)
- Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2:30)
- Foxhunters’ Challenge Cup Chase (3:40)
- Mares’ Chase (4:15)
- Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (4:50)
A Photo for the Al Boum?
It took Willie Mullins until 2019 to break his duck in the Gold Cup, but he’s found a class act in Al Boum Photo.
The winner of the last two renewals under Paul Townend looks set to mount a bold bid to complete his hat-trick in the race and write his chapter of racing history.
The nine-year-old arrives at Cheltenham following a familiar path. It took him via Tramore on New Year’s Day once more, and he’s now won that race in each of the last three years.
Since 2002, nine favourites have won been first past the post in the Gold Cup, while 17 of the last 20 winners have been found in the first three of the market, so punters don’t have to look too far down the betting.
But can anyone stop the two-time reigning king of Cheltenham?
Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard could pose a threat after his stout staying performance to win the Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December.
He’s an event winner. He put in a hugely impressive performance to dominate the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase in 2019, winning by a massive 16 lengths.
Then, there’s the novice chaser in Royale Pagaille, who could represent trainer Venetia Williams and the Ricci’s.
After a slow start following his move from France, the seven-year-old has rapidly improved this season. He’s three from three, including a 16-length victory in the Peter Marsh at Haydock. Could he follow Coneygree and win the Gold Cup while still a novice?
And it might be difficult to ignore 2018 winner Native River after his dazzling performance in the re-arranged Cotswold Chase, ran at Sandown last month.
It was a poignant success for the Colin Tizzard yard, and if the ground at Prestbury Park was to come up soft on Gold Cup Day, then you couldn’t dismiss the chances of the 11-year-old. Although, the age trend might be against him.
The new race on the final day
For the first time at the event, there’s a Mares’ Chase. And if the Mares’ Hurdle is anything to go by, then this could be another race that Willie Mullins dominates.
In the Mares’ Hurdle, there have been 13 renewals with Mullins saddling the winner on nine occasions.
So, it’s no surprise to see one of his horses at the top of the market for this one. Elimay built on her two second-place finishes to win the Opera Hat Mares’ Chase at Naas in comfortable style.
Mullins could have a strong hand with his potential entries also including Colreevy. The eight-year-old has won three times this season, including the Grade 1 Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick on Boxing Day.
Away from the Mullins string, we could see Annie Mc in the line-up for Jonjo O’Neill. She’s won her last two outings, both at Listed level, and could well take this step up in class in her stride.
While it’s notable that last year’s Arkle winner Put The Kettle On also has an entry for this if connections decide to swerve the Champion Chase. She could add another layer of intrigue to the race if taking her chance.
Gold Cup Day Results 2020
Six of the seven races went to Irish trainers with Willie Mullins saddling a fantastic four-timer, including the highlight of Al Boum Photo’s second Gold Cup success.
It was a family affair in the Foxhunters, where daughter Maxine O’Sullivan rode It Came To Pass to glory for her mother Eugene.
The last race of the four days did go to an English trainer in Paul Webber. Ridden by Rex Dingle, the mare Indefatigable stormed up the Cheltenham hill to narrowly win the Martin Pipe from Pileon.
Let’s recap who won what on the final day of last year’s event.
|Triumph Hurdle||Burning Victory||Paul Townend|
|County Hurdle||Saint Roi||Barry Geraghty|
|Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle||Monkfish||Paul Townend|
|Gold Cup||Al Boum Photo||Paul Townend|
|Foxhunters’ Challenge Cup||It Came To Pass||Miss Maxine O’Sullivan|
|Grand Annual||Chosen Mate||Davy Russell|
|Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle||Indefatigable||Rex Dingle|