Photo faces four at Tramore
Al Boum Photo will face four rivals as he bids to win the Savills New Year’s Day Chase for the third year running at Tramore.
Willie Mullins’ dual Gold Cup winner has taken this Grade Three prize over two miles five and a half furlongs on his way to Cheltenham glory for the past two seasons.
He has not been in action since retaining his crown in March, and jockey Paul Townend is looking forward to getting back on board his Gold Cup partner at this familiar staging post.
“I suppose it’s tried and tested now, so why change it? At that time of year you’re guaranteed a bit of safe ground down there,” said Townend.
“It’s worked the last two years, and we’d be hoping it works a third time.
“If it’s working, why change it? He was pulled out of Leopardstown (two seasons ago) because of the ground and he went down to Tramore, and it suited.
“The race was there, and he got his ground. It was fine and it suited me he went to the Gold Cup under the radar.
“There was a little more pressure last year – but it’s working, and please God it will come off again.”
Among the opposition is Acapella Bourgeois, who was the six-length runner-up to his stable companion in this race last winter.
Mullins has a third string in Brahma Bull – while John Queally’s Djingle and I’m A Game Changer, from Andrew McNamara’s stable, complete the quintet.