Al Boum Photo is heading to Tramore
Al Boum Photo is heading to Tramore

Willie Mullins has confirmed Al Boum Photo will swerve trips to Aintree and Punchestown in favour of Tramore.

Mullins wants the two-time Gold Cup winner, who turns 10 in the next few weeks, back on track as soon as possible

He usually makes his season return at Tramore and connections have decided to keep things simple, with the card on New Year's Day now the target for the fourth year in a row. 

Mullins had entered his star in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree, while he also had the John Durkan Memorial on his mind at Punchestown. 

But the trainer has decided his runner will be better suited to more familiar surroundings.

He said: "He's in great form. I could have declared him for Punchestown but we have a lot of runners there. 

"He's ready to run but I just thought going across to Aintree over three-mile-one against race-fit horses first time out was probably too much. He'll probably have a gallop on Sunday rather than a race. 

"He'll probably go to Tramore. I'll probably just gallop him at home and go to Tramore again — and maybe I'd like to give him another run between Tramore and Cheltenham. We'll see. 

"I'm very happy with him at home, and he worked well this morning." 

Willie Mullins is confident of having Paul Townend in the saddle
Willie Mullins is confident of having Paul Townend in the saddle

Mullins' stable jockey, Paul Townend, has ridden Al Boum Photo for his last seven outings but the veteran is still nursing a dislocated shoulder. 

Although he has other options for Al Boum Photo's return, the Irish handler believes Townend will be fit enough to lead him around Tramore. 

He added: "He's back riding work but I just felt we might wait another week or maybe start off at a midweek meeting, something like that. 

"He's nearly there. He's riding work again but I felt, and he probably felt, there's no point coming back unless he's 100 per cent." 

Mullins and his team will need to be on their toes this weekend, with Chacun Pour Soi set to travel to Sandown for Saturday's Tingle Creek. 

Patrick Mullins will ride Chacun Pour Soi for the first time due to Townend's injury and they will come up against Nube Negra, Greaneteen, Captain Guinness and Hitman.

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