Cheltenham Festival 2019: Al Boum Photo shows true class to land Willie Mullins first Cheltenham Gold Cup

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AL BOUM PHOTO (12-1) jumped brilliantly and sluiced clear to land trainer Willie Mullins his first Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Closutton cannonball had four in the race but Paul Townend’s mount proved much the best in a dramatic contest.

Al Boum Photo destroyed his rivals to run out a brilliant winner of the Gold Cup
Al Boum Photo destroyed his rivals to run out a brilliant winner of the Gold Cup
Reuters

It was an event that promised so much – and certainly delivered in style.

In a race run at a furious gallop, Willie Mullins’ hand looked in trouble early as the strongly fancied Kemboy fell at the first.

The trainer’s woe was confounded when Invitation Only fell and brought down Definitly Red – both the victims of a searching pace.

But as the challengers for the biggest prize in racing began to quicken in unison coming round the home turn, the eye was immediately drawn to Willie Mullins’ third string – Al Boum Photo.

Paul Townend and Al Boum Photo are left in splendid isolation
Paul Townend and Al Boum Photo are left in splendid isolation
Reuters

Super-sub jock Paul Townend was as confident as you like as he went upsides last year’s Native River and fellow pace-setter Might Bite, with the pair quickly whizzing into a two length lead.

Only Bristol De Mai looked a danger but his effort quickly petered out – and it was left to Anibale Fly to offer the final threat.

However, it was too little too late and the classy son of Buck’s Boum was left in splendid isolation up the famous run-in.

The brilliant winner jumps the last and is away and gone
The brilliant winner jumps the last and is away and gone
PA:Press Association

Anibale Fly finished like a train for the runner-up spot, with Bristol De Mai proving he’s no one-trick pony in third.

The delighted winning jockey said: “I can’t believe it.

“I want to thank the owners and Willie for sticking by me so much.

Paul Townend celebrates in front of the Cheltenham crowd
Paul Townend celebrates in front of the Cheltenham crowd
Reuters

“I’m privileged to be riding for Willie. There’s only one Gold Cup”

The trainer was equally over the moon and said: “I’m delighted for connections and Paul especially.

“It’s good to get it, I didn’t think I’d have a good Cheltenham this year.”

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