23 February 2022

Mullins expresses form fears for Gold Cup hope Al Boum Photo

23 February 2022

Willie Mullins wishes his dual Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo was in better form with just over three weeks until he will try to reclaim his crown.

Having won the blue riband twice off the back of just one previous run, Mullins wanted to change tack this season and give the 10-year-old more action.

However, a dry winter meant those plans were scuppered and Al Boum Photo will again head to Cheltenham with just one outing – at Tramore on New Year’s Day – in the bank.

Mullins, though, fears he may have worked him too hard at home as a result and only on Wednesday morning was he starting to show a bit more sparkle on the gallops.

“I’d rather I had him in better order, to be honest,” said Mullins.

“I brought him away to work and I wasn’t happy with him, so we’ll see.

“He’s fit and we should have plenty of time. I think he’s in better order this morning than he was the last few days.

“I just gave him a few easy days after he worked. Maybe it just wasn’t his day when I brought him away. He usually comes right for Cheltenham.

“I wish he was in better form, but we still have time. It’s just a matter of hoping he comes into form.”

I was probably hard on him because he hadn't had racing and maybe that just backfired on me a little bit with the work I gave him

He went on: “I was probably hard on him because he hadn’t had racing and maybe that just backfired on me a little bit with the work I gave him.

“I was very happy with him after Tramore and so was Paul (Townend). He said he was in way better form than he was the previous year.

“But because we haven’t had the chance to run him since, I was working him very hard at home and maybe we just overcooked him a little bit at his age.

“It looks an open Gold Cup and a lot will depend on who gets to the races on the day in great form, I think.”

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