Willie Mullins can’t wait to see his two-time Gold Cup hero Al Boom Photo bid for a hat-trick in the Savills New Year’s Day Chase in Tramore.
Gelding Buck’s Boom ended up racing in the two-five-mile furlong almost by accident two seasons ago, having rounded the Savills Chase at Leopardstown the week before due to sluggish ground.
With the same issue that ruled him out of a subsequent Irish Gold Cup race, Al Boom Photo lined up at Cheltenham as being nothing more than a lively underdog but ultimately offered his coach a elusive first win in the Blue Ribbon under Paul Townend.
Mullins’ decision to follow the same route last season paid off again in the Cotswolds in March – and Al Boom Photo will once again be a hot favorite to make a successful return to the seaside site on Friday.
Mullins said: “It’s good preparation. I brought him there for the proper winter jumping pitch, which he loves, and it worked two years in a row. Hope it works. again this year.
“We started off with a lot of horses that won at Cheltenham and other big sites in Tramore. We still have a really nice jumping ground there. We have a safe jumping ground, and that’s the key. .
“I think that’s the key to preparing any show jumping horse, and they teach Tramore a lot. You’re up and down and in circles – it’s no different from Cheltenham. You turn or jump – and they learn a good bite that they might not learn on big, flat tracks. “
Al Boom Photo faces just four rivals in the third-year contest, with Mullins also fielding last year’s runner-up Acapella Bourgeois and Brahma Bull – who was last seen chasing the hope of the Gold Cup Minella Indo in Navan.
Djingle by John Queally and I’m A Game Changer, formed by Andrew McNamara, complete the quintet.