Who is Al Boum Photo and why is he a Cheltenham favourite?

Published 2021/02/17

Who is Al Boum Photo and why is he a Cheltenham favourite?

Al Boum Photo’s racing career has been rich with victory and interest.The Irish-trained and French-born racehorse recorded back-to-back victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2019 and 2020. The horse is favourite to defend his title this year at the prestigious event in March. 888sports have picked the horse as the favourite once again, with those who choose to bet on Cheltenham year expect to get 3.5/1 odds.

The Al Boum Photo’s Rise

Al Boum Photo has been a strong contender for the biggest of prizes in racing, since the start of his career.

Following a fall in his debut race in 2015, Al Boum Photo was sent to Ireland to be trained by Wayne Mullins. The move had fast success with a third-place result in his first race for his new colours. This was followed by a win in a minor race at Thurles and then another victory at the Festival Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The following year saw him win in a minor steeplechase at Navan and the Ryanair Gold Cup.

In the 2018/2019 season, Al Boum Photo recorded wins at the Savills New Year Day Chase at Tramore – a feat repeated in 2020 and 2021 – as well as the first of his Cheltenham Gold Cups.

Trainer and Jockey

A big part of Al Boum Photo’s success is often attributed to his trainer, Willie Mullins and current jockey Paul Townend.

Townend enjoys a good relationship with the horse’s owners, something which puts him in a comfortable position when competing at the biggest events.

The rider was well supported by the horse’s team of owners when he made a well-publicised mistake at the Champion Novice Chase in 2018.

The closely-knit team is also bolstered by trainer Mullins, who has been integral to Al Boum Photo’s success ever since taking him on in 2015. Both horse and rider have repaid his diligence, giving him his first Cheltenham Gold Cup win in 2019. The second followed the year later, and many expect the third to arrive this year.

The Success of Willie Mullins

Al Boum Photo’s trainer Willie Mullins has enjoyed many years as a successful coach and is one of the most prominent figures in horse racing.

A recent run of successes that dominated race meetings over Christmas and New Year kept the trainer in an optimistic mood for the rest of the season.

The Co. Carlow based trainer recorded 12 winners over the holiday period. He added to this with second, third, fourth and fifth placed horses in the Savills Chase.

This Year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup

Al Boum Photo is the clear favourite so far with the bookies placing him as odds on to defend the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The nine-year-old horse’s victory at Tramore in January was his first race since winning at Cheltenham in March 2020. Winning by a clear margin over Acapella Bourgeois set Al Boum Photo up for what many see will be another successful Cheltenham.

Who Are His Rivals?

Al Boum Photo is certainly the favourite in the pack for this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he is by no means the only runner. Here are some of his main rivals.

Kemboy has been widely tipped to do well after completing a strong victory in the Irish Gold Cup. The Leopardstown event saw the horse take the win comfortably.

The horse is also trained by Willie Mullins, making the rivalry between the two horses another intriguing part of the upcoming race.