A superb week of racing continues on Wednesday afternoon and two Gold Cup heroes in their respective codes return to the racecourse, with Al Boum Photo and Stradivarius back on the track later today.
A duel winner of the Cheltenham edition, Willie Mullins’s Al Boum Photo makes his reappearance with a tilt at the Punchestown Gold Cup this evening.
The son of Buck’s Boum secured National Hunt’s greatest prize in 2019 and 2020, respectively, before finishing a valiant third in this year’s renewal behind Henry de Bromhead duo Minella Indo and A Plus Tard.
He reopposes stable-mate Kemboy, who downed him in this race two years ago, and English raider Clan Des Obeaux who was a brilliant winner of the Betway Bowl at the Grand National Festival earlier this month.
Fellow Aintree winner Fakir D’oudairies is also in contention, as are other Closutton trained duo Melon and Easy Game.
John Gosden, meanwhile, saddles his legendary stayer Stradivarius for a return to his beloved Ascot in the Longines Sangario Stakes – the scene of his three greatest triumphs at Royal Ascot.
This is his earliest seasonal reappearance since 2017, with the Sea The Stars colt bidding to get back on track after a disappointing showing in the Long Distance Cup here back in October.
He won only two of his six outings in 2020, but he only ran the two-mile trip on two occasions after connections veered towards a shot a the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Paris Longchamp.
On Wednesday, he heads the market under usual pilot Frankie Dettori and gives his rivals plenty to find on ratings to run him close.
Nayef Road chased him home on two occasions last year and hopes it will be third-time lucky for Mark Johnston, while Roger Teal’s Ocean Wind is sure to be suited by the step back up to two miles having finished fifth in the Champion Bumper fourteen months ago.