22nd February 2021
Willie Mullins talking about AL BOUM PHOTO:
I’ll give him a big bit of work this week. He’s in great shape. He worked well last week and he’s a big bit of work coming up this week. He’s uncomplicated, he’s very nice to train. I didn’t think when we were buying him we’d be in this position, or indeed the day that he ran out in Punchestown, or when he had the mishap with Ruby (Walsh) jumping the last at Cheltenham. He’s got a funny back history – but here he is, a double Gold Cup winner going for his third. We’re very privileged to have him. I think you have to take CHAMP and A PLUS TARD seriously. Both are stayers, A Plus Tard is bred to stay; Champ proved that he stays all day last year, and he put in a huge performance yesterday. The two of them have put in huge performances as their prep runs. KEMBOY is there – we haven’t decided or spoken to connections yet – and MELON is there. Looking at the replay last night, we think possibly should he go for the Ryanair? But then we are well represented in the Ryanair, so we will see. I’ll have to have a word with connections about where we go. There are no hard-and-fast rules made at this stage. There’s a few bits of work to do, and who knows what’s going to happen?”
A Plus Tard had Mullins’ KEMBOY back in second at Leopardstown over Christmas – while Nicky Henderson’s CHAMP impressed many when second, dropped down to two miles in Sunday’s Game Spirit Chase at Newbury. KEMBOY went on to win the Irish Gold Cup this month, with stablemate MELON a well-beaten fifth. The pair are among five entries for Mullins at this stage, although neither is certain to run. KEMBOY also has an entry for the Stayers’ Hurdle as well as, like MELON, the Ryanair Chase.
27th January 2021
A PLUS TARD is priced up at 16/1 for The Ryanair and 10/1 for his apparently preferred target, The Gold Cup. He recorded his highest RPR (172+) on his second attempt at 3m+ in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, wearing a first-time tongue-tie. His race was easier with the falls of the first and second favourites, but he raced strongly and finished powerfully to beat Kemboy by ½l. Henry De Bromhead said “…needed every inch of the 3-mile distance” and, in this sad year for owners, Cheveley Park Stud, it might be difficult to resist The Gold Cup. His stamina appears to be improving with age and, his chances should not be underestimated – even if de Bromhead runs MINELLA INDO (fell when favourite in The Savills). He is generally 8s NRNB for both Ryanair and Gold Cup