Closutton maestro Willie Mullins has expressed that his dual Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo has form fears ahead of his run in the Gold Cup at the festival.
Looking to snatch back his Gold Cup title having given it up last year when seeking a hat-trick in the race, Mullins is not as happy as he wants to be with the 10 year old.
Having only been once this season as usual at Tramore when winning a fourth straight Grade Three event on New Year's Day when winning nicely, he has been getting tuned at home ahead of the festival.
However, Mullins may have worked him too hard and it was only on Wednesday morning that he started to show a bit more sparkle on the gallops.
(Credit ATR) Mullins said: “I’d rather I had him in better order, to be honest.
“I brought him away to work and I wasn’t happy with him, so we’ll see.“He’s fit and we should have plenty of time. I think he’s in better order this morning than he was the last few days.“
I just gave him a few easy days after he worked. Maybe it just wasn’t his day when I brought him away. He usually comes right for Cheltenham.“
I wish he was in better form, but we still have time. It’s just a matter of hoping he comes into form.”
He added: “I was probably hard on him because he hadn’t had racing and maybe that just backfired on me a little bit with the work I gave him.“
I was very happy with him after Tramore and so was Paul (Townend). He said he was in way better form than he was the previous year.
“But because we haven’t had the chance to run him since, I was working him very hard at home and maybe we just overcooked him a little bit at his age.
“It looks an open Gold Cup and a lot will depend on who gets to the races on the day in great form, I think.”