By Kieran Murphy
GOLF Cup hero Al Boum Photo, his trainer Willie Mullins and winning jockey Paul Townend, along with many members of the Closutton staff were given a hero’s welcome last Monday evening in Leighlinbridge.
The horse and the winning connections paraded through the main streets of the village to the Lord Bagenal where a big crowd greeted them.
“He is so young and we have a lot to look forward to. Even if nothing happens he has done what we had never done before,” Willie Mullins told MC Dessie Scahill.
Paul Townend said that after he won the Racing Post Arkle Novice’s Chase on day one of the festival, he never dreamt he would be coming home from Cheltenham as a Gold Cup winner in 2019.
“By Friday I was ready for another winner but never dreamt it would be a Gold Cup,” he said.
Al Boum Photo posed for over an hour with excited fans both young and old with the horse taking it all in his stride.
David Hanley was one such enthusiast. Father of Amy and Nicole Hanley who won Leinster football championship medals with Old Leighlin in 2018, he was delighted to get a chance to see the horse up close.
“Fabulous evening. Great to see a local man the winner of the Gold Cup. The whole population is out. So many of Willie’s yard support the local community.
“All the youngsters here want to touch the horse. It is brilliant for them. It is all about the local community. Memories. Something to look back on. Even somebody like me in his early 50s, to be able to go up and touch the horse is beautiful,” the Leighlinbridge man said.