The countdown to the 2021 Cheltenham festival has well and truly begun with the opening race of the festival just over three weeks away.
It’s one of the biggest races on the calender for Irish and British trainers and punters and this year runs from Tuesday 16th March till Friday 19th March.
Willie Mullins has confirmed he’s on course to bring one of his strongest ever teams to next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
He’s issued upbeat bulletins on all his stable stars as he makes final preparations for the assault on the big meeting, in which he hopes to make history.
Al Boum Photo is in fine form ahead of his bid for a historic third win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, according to Willie Mullins.
The 9-year-old has had just a single run, at Tramore on New Years Day, since beating Santini in the blue riband a year ago.
Mullins is very happy with his stable star he says:
“He’s in great shape, worked well last week, he has a big bit of work coming up this week” said Mullins.
“He’s uncomplicated, he’s very nice to train, little did I think when we were buying him that we would be in this position or indeed the day that he ran out in Punchestown or the mishap jumping the last in Cheltenham, he’s a funny back history (sic) but here he is, a double gold cup winner going for his third gold cup”.
Saint Roi, one of the main hopes for owner JP McManus in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next month is out of the race.
Trainer Willie Mullins has confirmed that last season’s County Hurdle winner will miss the Festival, meaning McManus’ main hopes will now be with the Nicky Henderson pair of former champions Epatante and Buveur D’Air.
Mullins has explained the decision:
“He’s out of Cheltenham, I don’t think he’s scratched yet, but chatting to JP the other day, we came to the conclusion that we are not happy with him and he wont run at Cheltenham”.
“He had one or two little niggles and I think JP was happy to maybe just let him get over those” added Mullins.