Honeysuckle, Chacun Pour Soi, Paisley Park and Al Boum Photo head Cheltenham feature race entries

Honeysuckle and Rachael Blackmore after winning Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham 2020. (Pic: Courtesy of Cheltenham Racecourse).

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AL Boum Photo heads 29 entries for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday March 19 following the scratchings deadline earlier this week.

The Willie Mullins-trained and Paul Townend-ridden Al Boum Photo won Cheltenham’s blue riband event in 2019 and 2020 and is best-priced at 3-1 to secure a rare hat-trick of victories in the Grade 1 contest, a feat last achieved by Best Mate (2002, 2003, 2004).

Al Boum Photo contested only two races in 2020, winning at Tramore on New Year’s Day before securing back-to-back Gold Cup wins when prevailing by a neck from Santini at Cheltenham in March.

Connections have stuck to the same pattern this term and the now nine-year-old proved far too good for his four rivals when securing a repeat win at Tramore on January 1, scoring by 19 lengths and eased down at the finish.

Rivals amongst the Gold Cup entries include fellow Irish challenger A Plus Tard, winner of the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period, and Grade 1 Ladbrokes King George VI Chase winner Frodon, who attempts to become the first horse since Long Run to win Kempton Park’s showpiece race and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season.

In other news, star mares Honeysuckle and Epatante, the defending champion, are on course to clash in the Unibet Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, March 16.

Epatante has something to prove after a shock defeat behind Silver Streak in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle. Meanwhile, Honeysuckle looked as good as ever when winning the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle to secure her 10th consecutive win under rules.

Honeysuckle’s connections retain the option of bidding for a second Mares’ Hurdle success – but she appears likely to target the Champion Hurdle, with Betfair slashing her odds from 6-1 to 9-4 joint-favourite with Epatante.

Honeysuckle’s trainer De Bromhead, speaking immediately after the Irish Champion Hurdle victory, said: “That was brilliant, she was brilliant. It was what we hoped she’d do and she did it.

“Rachael [Blackmore – jockey] was brilliant on her and she’s just class.

“It’s lovely the way she picked up, she’s not slow either, and you could see the speed of her there.

“She jumped great and she just let her fiddle the last.

“I’m very lucky to have Rachael and I’ve said it all before. She’s just brilliant to have on the team.”

Asked whether this victory confirmed the Champion Hurdle participation, the trainer added: “We’ll enjoy today. We’ve won a Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle, which is amazing.

“There is a lot of relief after that and I don’t feel as sick as I did 10 minutes ago!

“I’ll have to speak to Kenny [Alexander, owner] and Peter [Molony, owner’s racing manager], but you’d have to feel that we’d be leaning that way (Champion Hurdle), De Bromhead said to Timeform.

“On ratings it would have been (her best performance). The Hatton’s Grace last season was pretty good as well. She’s put in a few real good performances, but that has to be up there.”

Other names to note among the 23 acceptors include Buveur d’Air (Nicky Henderson), the winner of the race in 2017 and 2018.

Unibet Champion Hurdle – Tuesday, March 16

Abacadabras (FR) 7 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE

Aspire Tower (IRE) 5 11 10 Robcour Henry de Bromhead IRE

Ballyandy (GB) 10 11 10 Options O Syndicate Nigel Twiston-Davies 

Buveur d’Air (FR) 10 11 10 Mr John P. McManus Nicky Henderson 

Buzz (FR) 7 11 10 Thurloe for Royal Marsden Cancer Charity Nicky Henderson 

Coeur Sublime (IRE) 6 11 10 C. Jones Gearoid O’Loughlin IRE 

For Pleasure (IRE) 6 11 10 Premier Plastering (UK) Limited Alex Hales 

Goshen (FR) 5 11 10 Mr Steven Packham Gary Moore 

James du Berlais (FR) 5 11 10 Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede W. P. Mullins IRE 

Jason The Militant (IRE) 7 11 10 Mr Peter Michael Henry de Bromhead IRE

Not So Sleepy (GB) 9 11 10 Lady Blyth Hughie Morrison 

Petit Mouchoir (FR) 10 11 10 Noel Moran/Mrs Valerie Moran Gordon Elliott IRE 

Saint Roi (FR) 6 11 10 Mr John P. McManus W. P. Mullins IRE 

Saldier (FR) 7 11 10 Mrs S. Ricci W. P. Mullins IRE 

Sceau Royal (FR) 9 11 10 Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Alan King 

Sharjah (FR) 8 11 10 Mrs S. Ricci W. P. Mullins IRE 

Silver Streak (IRE) 8 11 10 Mr L. Fell Evan Williams 

Song For Someone (GER) 6 11 10 Sir Peter & Lady Gibbings Tom Symonds 

Winston C (IRE) 7 11 10 Hudson River Farms LLC Keri Brion USA

Concertista (FR) 7 11 3 Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede W. P. Mullins IRE

Epatante (FR) 7 11 3 Mr John P. McManus Nicky Henderson 

Honeysuckle (GB) 7 11 3 Mr K. Alexander Henry de Bromhead IRE

Verdana Blue (IRE) 9 11 3 Mrs Doreen Tabor Nicky Henderson 

(23 remaining entries, 11 Irish-trained, 1 USA-trained)

Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase – Wednesday, March 17

Altior (IRE) 11 11 10 Mrs Patricia Pugh Nicky Henderson 

Battleoverdoyen (IRE) 8 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE

Bun Doran (IRE) 10 11 10 Crossed Fingers Partnership Tom George 

Chacun Pour Soi (FR) 9 11 10 Mrs S. Ricci W. P. Mullins IRE

Chatham Street Lad (IRE) 9 11 10 Mr V. Healy Michael Winters IRE

Cilaos Emery (FR) 9 11 10 Luke McMahon W. P. Mullins IRE

Duc des Genievres (FR) 8 11 10 Sullivan Bloodstock Limited Paul Nicholls 

Esprit du Large (FR) 7 11 10 Mr & Mrs William Rucker Evan Williams 

Fakir d’Oudairies (FR) 6 11 10 Mr John P. McManus Joseph Patrick O’Brien IRE

Fanion d’Estruval (FR) 6 11 10 Mr David Wilson Venetia Williams 

First Flow (IRE) 9 11 10 Mr A. N. Solomons Kim Bailey 

Greaneteen (FR) 7 11 10 Chris Giles Paul Nicholls 

Ibleo (FR) 8 11 10 The Bellamy Partnership Venetia Williams 

Magic Saint (FR) 7 11 10 Mr and Mrs J. D. Cotton Paul Nicholls 

Min (FR) 10 11 10 Mrs S. Ricci W. P. Mullins IRE

Notebook (GER) 8 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE

Nube Negra (SPA) 7 11 10 Mr T. Spraggett Dan Skelton 

Politologue (FR) 10 11 10 Mr J. Hales Paul Nicholls 

Rouge Vif (FR) 7 11 10 Kate & Andrew Brooks Harry Whittington 

Samcro (IRE) 9 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE

Sceau Royal (FR) 9 11 10 Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Alan King 

Simply The Betts (IRE) 8 11 10 Kate & Andrew Brooks Harry Whittington 

Tornado Flyer (IRE) 8 11 10 T. F. P. W. P. Mullins IRE

Put The Kettle On (IRE) 7 11 3 One For Luck Racing Syndicate Henry de Bromhead IRE

(24 remaining entries, 10 Irish-trained)

Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle – Thursday, March 18  

Bacardys (FR) 10 11 10 Shanakiel Racing Syndicate W. P. Mullins IRE

Bachasson (FR) 10 11 10 E. O’Connell W. P. Mullins IRE

Beacon Edge (IRE) 7 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE

Captain Zebo (IRE) 9 11 10 Mrs S. F. Dixon John Dixon 

Champ (IRE) 9 11 10 Mr John P. McManus Nicky Henderson 

City Island (IRE) 8 11 10 Sean & Bernardine Mulryan Martin Brassil IRE

Decor Irlandais (FR) 8 11 10 Mr John Devine Noel C. Kelly IRE

Diol Ker (FR) 7 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE

Donna’s Diamond (IRE) 12 11 10 D&D Armstrong Ltd Chris Grant 

Emitom (IRE) 7 11 10 The Spero Partnership Ltd Warren Greatrex 

Flooring Porter (IRE) 6 11 10 Flooring Porter Syndicate Gavin Cromwell IRE

French Dynamite (FR) 6 11 10 Robcour M. F. Morris IRE

Fury Road (IRE) 7 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE

Honest Vic (IRE) 8 11 10 Carole Daly & Partners Henry Daly 

If The Cap Fits (IRE) 9 11 10 Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Harry Fry 

Imperial Alcazar (IRE) 7 11 10 Imperial Racing Partnership 2016 Fergal O’Brien 

Itchy Feet (FR) 7 11 10 Kate & Andrew Brooks Olly Murphy 

Jacamar (GER) 6 11 10 Pegasus Bloodstock Limited Milton Harris 

Kemboy (FR) 9 11 10 Kemboy/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp Syndicate W. P. Mullins IRE

Lil Rockerfeller (USA) 10 11 10 Davies Smith Govier & Brown Neil King 

Lisnagar Oscar (IRE) 8 11 10 Racing for Fun Rebecca Curtis 

Main Fact (USA) 8 11 10 Munrowd’s Partnership David Pipe 

McFabulous (IRE) 7 11 10 Giraffa Racing Paul Nicholls 

Next Destination (IRE) 9 11 10 Mr Malcolm C. Denmark Paul Nicholls 

Paisley Park (IRE) 9 11 10 Mr Andrew Gemmell Emma Lavelle 

Reserve Tank (IRE) 7 11 10 The Reserve Tankers Colin Tizzard 

Ronald Pump (GB) 8 11 10 Laois Limerick Syndicate Matthew J. Smith IRE

Sam Spinner (GB) 9 11 10 Caron & Paul Chapman Jedd O’Keeffe 

Sams Profile (GB) 7 11 10 Michael O’Flynn/John F O’Flynn M. F. Morris IRE

Sire du Berlais (FR) 9 11 10 Mr John P. McManus Gordon Elliott IRE

The Mighty Don (IRE) 9 11 10 Golden Rose Partnership Nick Gifford 

The Storyteller (IRE) 10 11 10 Mrs Pat Sloan Gordon Elliott IRE

Thomas Darby (IRE) 8 11 10 Mrs Diana L. Whateley Olly Murphy 

Thyme Hill (GB) 7 11 10 The Englands and Heywoods Philip Hobbs 

Tobefair (GB) 11 11 10 Down The Quay Club Debra Hamer 

Vinndication (IRE) 8 11 10 Moremoneythan Kim Bailey 

Younevercall (IRE) 10 11 10 Youneverknow Partnership Kim Bailey 

Benie des Dieux (FR) 10 11 3 Mrs S. Ricci W. P. Mullins IRE

Great White Shark (FR) 7 11 3 Mr Malcolm C. Denmark W. P. Mullins IRE 

Heaven Help Us (IRE) 7 11 3 Mr J. Turner P. Hennessy IRE

Paul’s Saga (FR) 7 11 3 Gerald Laroche D. Cottin FR

Roksana (IRE) 9 11 3 Mrs Sarah Faulks Dan Skelton 

(42 remaining entries, 17 Irish-trained, 1 French-trained)

Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup – Friday, March 19

Al Boum Photo (FR) 9 11 10 Mrs J. Donnelly W. P. Mullins IRE

Allaho (FR) 7 11 10 Cheveley Park Stud W. P. Mullins IRE

A Plus Tard (FR) 7 11 10 Cheveley Park Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE

Aso (FR) 11 11 10 The Bellamy Partnership Venetia Williams 

Battleoverdoyen (IRE) 8 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE

Black Op (IRE) 10 11 10 Mr R. S. Brookhouse Tom George 

Burrows Saint (FR) 8 11 10 Mrs S. Ricci W. P. Mullins IRE

Champ (IRE) 9 11 10 Mr John P. McManus Nicky Henderson 

Cyrname (FR) 9 11 10 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls 

Delta Work (FR) 8 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE 

Frodon (FR) 9 11 10 Mr P. J. Vogt Paul Nicholls 

Imperial Aura (IRE) 8 11 10 Imperial Racing Partnership 2016 Kim Bailey 

Kemboy (FR) 9 11 10 Kemboy/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp Syndicate W. P. Mullins IRE

Lostintranslation (IRE) 9 11 10 Taylor & O’Dwyer Colin Tizzard 

Master Tommytucker (GB) 10 11 10 Mr A. G. Fear Paul Nicholls 

Melon (GB) 9 11 10 Mrs J. Donnelly W. P. Mullins IRE

Minella Indo (IRE) 8 11 10 Mr Barry Maloney Henry de Bromhead IRE

Native River (IRE) 11 11 10 Brocade Racing Colin Tizzard 

Real Steel (FR) 8 11 10 Mrs Kathy Stuart&Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd Paul Nicholls 

Royale Pagaille (FR) 7 11 10 Mrs S. Ricci Venetia Williams 

Saint Calvados (FR) 8 11 10 Kate & Andrew Brooks Harry Whittington 

Samcro (IRE) 9 11 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE 

Santini (GB) 9 11 10 Mr & Mrs R. Kelvin-Hughes Nicky Henderson 

Simply The Betts (IRE) 8 11 10 Kate & Andrew Brooks Harry Whittington 

The Conditional (IRE) 9 11 10 Mr P. J. Cave David Bridgwater 

Vinndication (IRE) 8 11 10 Moremoneythan Kim Bailey 

Yorkhill (IRE) 11 11 10 D & D Armstrong Ltd & Mr L Westwood Sandy Thomson 

Magic of Light (IRE) 10 11 3 Ann & Alan Potts Limited Mrs J. Harrington IRE 

Shattered Love (IRE) 10 11 3 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE

(29 remaining entries, 12 Irish-trained)

The scratchings deadline for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup was on February 9, with the six-day confirmation and supplementary entry stage following on March 13.

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