We’re sure there were celebrations and a few tears at Willie Mullins’ yard this week as two of the big names in Irish racing were retired.
Al Boum Photo, twice a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, along with Melon have said goodbye to their racing days as they head for a new career in eventing.
With Paul Townend on board, Al Boum Photo was the first horse to do back-to-back (2019, 2020) Cheltenham Gold Cups since the Best Mate three-in-a-row (2002, 2003, 2004), finishing behind Minella Indo and A Plus Tard in 2021’s running of the race.
“After years and years of trying, Al Boum Photo gave me my first Gold Cup. I thought it was never going to happen and then he comes along and does it twice! That is a fantastic achievement for any horse. He was very, very special”, Mullins told the Racing Post.
“I was honoured to be involved with a horse like him and the first time he won the Gold Cup is up there as one of the best days I have ever had in racing. To win a Gold Cup is the pinnacle of any trainer’s career.”
Melon was a regular for Mullins at Cheltenham in recent years but never had the Gold Cup success of his stablemate.
Recent results included a Grade 2 win at Gowran in February before finishing fifth from Allaho at Cheltenham in March.
This was followed up by a Grade 3 win in Cork in April and a second-place Grade 3 finish at Killarney last month.
Fans of national hunt racing have been paying tribute to both horses since the news broke on Tuesday.