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Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup press conference quotes

Press Release 13th March 2020 Cheltenham

By Racenews

Willie Mullins, trainer of the winner Al Boum Photo, said: "I thought he had a great chance. Last year I thought it was a tough race but this time I thought it was winnable with a clear round and anyhow, he won it - just about.
"I came here with a fair bit of confidence and I suppose the light campaign paid off. When you win you are right and I'd imagine he'll do the same thing next year.
"It's been an unbelievable day. We didn't get much luck on Tuesday but we got a huge slice of luck in the first race and then I think in the second, third and fourth races probably the best horse won.
"It's fantastic to have a guy like Paul Townend riding for you. He had a tough job taking over from Ruby Walsh but I think today proved that he was well up to it.
"I didn't worry much about the statistics (regarding back-to-back winners) and usually I do, because of the way we had prepared him. I thought that statistically this preparation was going to work, turning it on its head a bit.
"I didn't see anything all year that I was afraid of at all. I was amazed that everyone was knocking the Champion Hurdle - there wasn't anything I was afraid of coming here. If the same horse turned up as last year I thought that it would take something we hadn't seen to beat him.
"I'm very happy with two (Gold Cups) and hopefully we are going to try for three. He loves Cheltenham and we'll probably take the same route. It wasn't the plan last year - it was the weather that forced us down to Tramore.
"They are very gracious owners (Marie & Joe Donnelly) and they enjoy their racing. They enjoy the sport of it. They have good days and bad days but they are very gracious. I'm very happy for them.
"I was expecting a lot more from the first two days and it's tough. People expect us to have winners. We don't expect to have winners but we hope to have winners. It's a big story when we don't have winners but you have to earn them. We just didn't have the luck on Tuesday.
"I self-medicated a lot that night! It can be hard on the old brain cells but everyone has bad days.
"I'm enjoying this immensely. Last year my son was in an ambulance and I had a horse still out on the track. This year I had nothing to worry about. Real Steel ran a cracker and Kemboy was disappointing, but I just thought the ground didn't suit him.
"I'm really delighted for my stable jockey who has put his stamp on Cheltenham as our first jockey. An understudy coming in is very tough. Paul has risen to it."
Paul Townend, rider of the winner Al Boum Photo, said: "Tuesday seems a long time ago now and riding for Willie is the key to that.
"I suppose last year Al Boum Photo was a bit of an unknown. He was proven this year but he had to deliver, and in fairness he did. Willie deserves the credit for being brave enough to go the same route as last year and having him in such good form after just one run.
"We missed a couple of fences but he's inclined to do that and I was comfortable enough. We were never going to have complete plain sailing but it went as well as possible. He started to jump well at the business end when he needed to and I was in a good position by the top of the hill.
"On paper it was going to be a very different race to last year but it went pretty much as I expected it too. I thought I'd travel better than I was able to last year, the way the race was likely to pan out.
"Last year was completely surreal and I suppose we snuck in under the radar a bit. This year all eyes were on us. It will take a while to sink in. I thought I'd never get a feel like last year again, but this is right up there with it. The best feeling in the world.
"More pressure this year meant possibly better rides. Ruby presented me with the Ruby Walsh Trophy and it was nice to get that too."


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