Al Boum Picture will face a most of 12 rivals as he shoots for a 3rd successive victory in Friday’s WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins’ runner will be part of a choose band of three-times winners if he can triumph once more within the Pageant showpiece, changing into the primary horse since Greatest Mate in 2004 to finish the feat.
The nine-year-old has gained his solely begin to this point this time period and could possibly be joined by fellow Mullins runners Kemboy and Melon, though the latter remains to be within the Ryanair.
He faces one other earlier winner in 2018 hero Native River, who’s considered one of two for Colin Tizzard together with final 12 months’s third Lostintranslation.
Santini was crushed only a neck by Al Boum Picture in 2020 and he’s set to be considered one of two for Nicky Henderson, together with final 12 months’s last-gasp RSA winner Champ, who made a passable return when second within the Recreation Spirit final month.
Paul Nicholls and Bryony Frost are set to staff up with Frodon, winner of the 2019 Ryanair Chase and profitable over three miles within the King George VI Chase when final seen whereas Royal Pagaille stands his floor for Venetia Williams, though he additionally stays within the Sam Vestey Nationwide Hunt Problem Cup Novices’ Chase and the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
Williams additionally has Aso within the combine, with Tom George’s Black Op finishing the house staff.
Along with Mullins’ trio, Henry de Bromhead has two Irish-trained contenders in A Plus Tard and Minella Indo.
A Plus Tard impressed when beating Kemboy within the Savills Chase at Christmas, whereas Minella Indo was properly crushed by that Mullins runner when final seen within the Irish Gold Cup.