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Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo given Thurles aim

Two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo could make his seasonal reappearance in the BetVictor Chase at Thurles next week.

The nine-year-old finally provided Willie Mullins with his first victory in the blue riband in 2019, and then successfully defended his crown 12 months later.

On both occasions, Al Boum Photo tuned up for his trip to Prestbury Park with a solitary appearance at Tramore on New Year’s Day, so he unsurprisingly followed the same route last season.

But with his charge having had to make do with minor honours in third when bidding for a Gold Cup hat-trick, Mullins recently revealed he would have a busier campaign this time around.

Thursday’s Listed event would appear an ideal starting point if ground conditions are suitable, as it is confined to horses that have not won chases worth more than €50,000 since May of last year.

Al Boum Photo and Paul Townend riding to victory in the Savills Chase at Tramore last season

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Al Boum Photo and Paul Townend riding to victory in the Savills Chase at Tramore last season

The two-mile-six-furlong contest served up a treat last season, with Presenting Percy beating fellow top-notchers Kemboy and Monalee.

Al Boum Photo is the star name among 12 contenders in this year’s renewal, with Mullins also entering Cilaos Emery, Elimay, Melon and Tornado Flyer.

Gavin Cromwell’s Darver Star and the Mouse Morris-trained French Dynamite also feature.