Al Boom Photo will face four rivals as he tries to win the Savills New Year’s Day Chase for the third year in a row at Tramore.
Two-time Gold Cup winner Willie Mullins has taken the three-year award in two miles and five and a half stadiums en route to Cheltenham glory over the past two seasons.
He hasn’t been in action since retaining his crown in March, and jockey Paul Townend is looking forward to returning aboard his Gold Cup partner to this familiar starting position.
“I guess he’s proven himself now, so why change it?” At this time of year you’re guaranteed to have a little bit of security there, ”Townend said.
“It has worked for the past two years, and we hope it will work a third time.
“If it works, why change it? He was taken out of Leopardstown (two seasons ago) because of the ground and he went down to Tramore, and that was fine with him.
“The race was there, and he took his place. It was good and it suited me, he went to the Gold Cup under the radar.
“There was a little more pressure last year – but it’s working, and please God it’s going to start again.”
Among the opponents is Acapella Bourgeois, who was the finalist in six lengths of his teammate in this race last winter.
Mullins has a third string in Brahma Bull – while Djingle and I’m A Game Changer by John Queally, from Andrew McNamara’s stable, complete the quintet.