Ruby Walsh: Al Boum Photo ran career best in 2021 Gold Cup defeat

Al Boum Photo was denied the Gold Cup hat-trick.

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Paddy Power ambassador Ruby Walsh believes Al Boum Photo ran a career-best performance in defeat at last week’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The 2019 and 2020 champ was aiming to join an elite club in winning the Gold Cup three years in a row but had to settle for third place behind the Henry de Bromhead duo of Minella Indo and A Plus Tard.

Speaking on The Cheltenham Review episode of From The Horse’s Mouth, our resident jockey-turned-pundit said: “It was a brilliant race to watch. It had pace with Black Op, Frodon and Kemboy – it was end to end.

“By the time they went out on the last circuit you were looking at three horses and your eye was drawn to the line formation they had. Minella Indo getting closer, Al Boum Photo tracking him and A Plus Tard following him. The cream was just coming to the top.

“I didn’t have a bet in the race. I just thought it was a brilliant horse race to watch.

“It was telling that [jockey] Paul Townend was out at the back of the third last fence but when Rachael [Blackmore] arrived on his outside she was able to pull him back in. I knew it was race over for Al Boum Photo. The fact that Paul couldn’t hold his position, it was just one horse going better than the other.

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“Looking back on it with the benefit of hindsight, Al Boum Photo’s probably run better than he did in winning either of his Gold Cups. You could argue it was his career-best performance.”

Paddy Power trader Frank Hickey also thought Al Boum Photo ran a blinder but the best horse on the day came out on top.

“Al Boum Photo was going well but I was loving the way Minella Indo was going through it,” Frank said. “I was keeping an eye on it because the brother was waiting on him for a right few quid.

“It was a brilliant race. Rachael Blackmore showed how good she is as she made sure Paul Townend wasn’t getting out on Al Boum Photo, she just kind of blocked him in a bit turning in.

“On the day the best horse won. The three of them ran really well. Minella Indo was brilliant on the day and jumped a lot better. It was hard to forgive him that cautious round of jumping at Leopardstown and I thought if he jumped like that he had no chance of winning the Gold Cup but I don’t think he missed a beat.”

Can Al Boum Photo bounce back to win the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup? We’re currently offering 20/1 in our antepost book. 

20/1
Al Boum Photo Cheltenham Gold Cup (Antepost)

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules

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