Willie Mullins is one of the most illustrious trainers in the world of horse racing. But last year was one of the best of his career as he was finally able to land the one prize that had deserted him throughout his career. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the signature event of the prestigious jump’s festival, like the SuperBowl is for NFL. However, it was only last year was the first year that Mullins had recorded a success.
Al Boum Photo was the horse to claim the success. The eight-year-old emerged as the leading contender for Mullins, despite Kemboy being the popular pick on the day for the punters. Paul Townend was the man on board as Al Boum Photo finally broke the Mullins hoodoo on the race to win by two and a half lengths from Anibale Fly. But, with Mullins finally on the board in terms of success in the Gold Cup, could a second victory in the race be on the cards again this year?
Al Boum Photo and Kemboy Favourites
The bookmakers certainly think that Mullins has the best chance of winning the race again. Al Boum Photo leads the betting, with Kemboy a close second in the betting. The reigning champion has been in consistent form since his success at Cheltenham last year. He followed that success up with a second place at Punchestown, where he was beaten by Kemboy. However, it got back to winning ways last time out at Tramore, as he won by six lengths from Acapella Bourgeois. The commanding victory means that he should be discounted.
Meanwhile, Kemboy was the popular pick ahead of the Gold Cup last year as he was in brilliant form. Prior to the Gold Cup, he had won four straight races. However, that run at Cheltenham wasn’t his best, as he unseated his jockey on the first fence. He bounced back to winning ways at Aintree a few weeks later before he beat Al Boum Photo at Punchestown.
The biggest issue with Kemboy has been the chance in jockey. Ruby Walsh’s retirement means that Townend is no onboard Kemboy, but he hasn’t been able to get the best performances. His first ride o board ended with Kemboy finishing fourth at Leopardstown. He ended three and a half lengths behind Delta Work. He will need to improve massively before the festival, but punters may be put off with his short price and dip in form.
Leading Other Contenders
Like on the Kentucky Derby, there are a host of other top stars in contention for the race. The most prominent in the betting are Santini, Lostintranslation and Clas Des Obeaux. Meanwhile, Native River is also likely to be a crucial figure as he looks to win the race for the second time.
The ten-year-old won the race back in 2018, before finishing fourth last year. The ground will be a big indicator on his chances. If it is a dry day, then Native River will have an excellent chance.
Santini and Lostintranslation both have doubters surrounding their chances, which means punters will be reluctant to bet on them. Santini has been in consistent form since its second place at the festival last year. However, the doubts surround his ability to perform at the Gold Cup distance. He won on his return from wind surgery at Cheltenham at the end of January. However, he made hard work of the win.
Meanwhile, Lostintranslation may be a popular pick for punters as he has been in great form so far this season. He has won his last three, including success at Aintree last year. He could be a popular pick for punters, and few would argue against his credentials.