LiveScore Racing News: Al Boum Photo back to winning ways
Al Boum Photo has sent out a message to his Cheltenham Gold Cup rivals after easing to victory in the Savills New Year's Day Chase at Tramore.
Saturday's victory made it four on the bounce in the Tramore showpiece as he came home four lengths clear of Burrows Saint in the contest over 2m6f.
Al Boum Photo signed off last season in disappointing form, finishing third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March before settling for second in the Punchestown Gold Cup the following month.
But with a return to Prestbury Park on the cards in 2022, all the signs are looking good for Willie Mullins' charge.
Just four horses started Saturday's contest, each of them trained by Mullins, and Al Boum Photo went on to justify his favourite tag.
The 10-year-old sat on the heels of stablemate Acapella Bourgeois before kicking on at the eighth fence and galloping home to scoop the prize.
Mullins said: "He fluffed one fence but did everything else right. Paul said he was just a bit idle in front.
"I'd like to get another run into him but we'll have to see [how he is]."
All roads lead to Cheltenham for Al Boum Photo with Mullins' charge looking to win the Gold Cup for a third time after victories in 2019 and 2020.
He had to settle for third in 2021 as Minella Indo scuppered his bid to join Golden Miller, Arkle, Best Mate and Cottage Rake as a three-time winner.
Mullins was also pleased to see Burrows Saint, making his second appearance of the season, make the early runnning, while Brahma Bull, who came home third, also received praise from the trainer.
He added: "Burrows Saint ran a cracker and I thought he was going to be a danger, but when Paul pressed the button it was all over.
"Brahma Bull ran well for a horse that would probably hate that ground. Acapella Bourgeois was disappointing so we'll have to see what we do with him."
There was also success over at Cheltenham for the Mullins team as Danny steered Stormy Ireland home to victory in the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle.
Just under a week after Danny and Willie combined to land the King George VI Chase with Tornado Flyer, the duo had more to celebrate.
After a very underwhelming run at Fairyhouse in November, which saw Stormy Ireland finish 36 lengths behind winner Honeysuckle, she earned a two-and-a-half-length win over McFabulous.
Danny Mullins said: "I'm delighted to have an association with this horse all because Paul (Townend) had a date with Al Boum Photo at Tramore.
"I was able to build the race as I saw fit. She likes to burn early but today they couldn't get to me.
"She is a right tough little mare. She's not the biggest but she has a huge heart."