Saturday 17 August 2019

Bellshill for Gold, and Allaho to topple Indo

expert view

Expert view: Patrick Mullins

Al Boum Photo's relatively short career has been a kaleidoscope of extraordinary moments.

He seems to crave the headlines and has crammed more good, bad and ugly into the last two seasons than Sergio Leone ever created on screen.

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His fall at the last in Limerick last Christmas; breaking Ruby's leg in Cheltenham; becoming Willie's first winner of the Ryanair Novice Chase at Fairyhouse, before being heavily involved in the confusion that reigned in Punchestown last year. Unfortunately Gordon Elliot was no Marcelo Bielsa that day.

He returns today as the horse who finally broke the curse of WP in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He's less predictable than Kanye West.

I've looked at him a few times since his Gold Cup triumph and I can't help but think after the Florida Pearls, the Vautours, the Douvans, the Sir Des Champses; all fine, big strong talented impressive types, yet this medium-sized horse, who almost blends into the background, was the one to finally bring the Gold Cup back to Closutton.

As Game of Thrones fans learnt on Monday night, it's not always the big strong ones who get the job done.

Kemboy comes here off two mightily impressive performances at Leopardstown and Aintree, split by a first fence spill in the Gold Cup. He's the Ajax of this contest.

Owned by the Supreme Horse Racing Club, he shows that it is possible for everyone to be involved at the very pinnacle of this sport without a budget of millions.

Bellshill loves Punchestown in the spring, having won a Grade 1 bumper, hurdle and chase here. Ruby chose him over the other two in the Gold Cup, where he ran too bad to be true, so he cannot be forgotten about. The prices of the horses do not truly reflect how close this race is.

I can't call who will win it, but I can say with certainty that Bellshill is an inflated price.

In the three mile novice hurdle, we run Allaho. This dark, imposing specimen catches the eye every morning and we are bursting with excitement about the future with him.

The score with Minella Indo is one-all, after spars in Clonmel and Cheltenham. Today will be the decider for the season.

Our horse was quite keen in Cheltenham off a slow pace and it didn't play to his strengths. I can see Ruby making more use of his high cruising speed, good jumping and long stride length today. Next season over fences is where you will see the best of him, though.

I've been fortunate to win the Champion Bumper on four occasions, but I've also chosen the wrong one on a further three occasions when Willie has won it.

It's not easy with these young unexposed horses, who are all improving at different rates and have only a handful of runs. I've decided to stick with Mt Leinster despite Golden Spread beating him last week in Fairyhouse. I think Mt Leinster will have come on for that run and might turn the tables.

It is a gamble, though, as Golden Spread is a rapidly improving horse who only ever does the bare minimum, so perhaps he will still finish in front.

However, Mt Leinster was bred by my mother Jackie and I'd hate for someone else to win on him. I think Abacadabras will be hard to beat in any case if reproducing his Cheltenham form.

And in the last, I've deserted Willie entirely. He only said okay the third time I asked him! However, I'm enamoured with Minella Melody.

She is a gorgeous mare with a fantastic pedigree who ran a fabulous race in defeat at Aintree. Connections didn't have to leave me on there, as it was a professional race, and I was keen to repay the favour here.

Gypsy Island will be hard to beat, but I don't see her brushing aside Minella Melody in the same manner she did to other mares in Fairyhouse.

Decisions, decisions. The dice are rolling, let's see how they fall.



Zero Ten 4.20

Allaho 5.30

Bellshill 6.05

Livelovelaugh 7.10

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