Ahead of the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup, the main topic of conversation was whether or not defending champion Al Boum Photo, trained by Willie Mullins, could emulate Golden Miller, Cottage Rake, Arkle and Best Mate by winning the ‘Blue Riband’ event three years running. Still only a 9-year-old, Al Boum Photo was sent off 9/4 favourite to do so but, having been outpaced on the run to the second-last fence, could only stay on to finish a creditable third, beaten 5½ lengths.
Victory went to Minella Indo, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Jack Kennedy, who stayed on gamely in the closing stages to beat stable companion A Plus Tard, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, by 1¼ lengths. Sent off at 9/1, Minella Indo was the lesser-fancied of the pair, but few would begrudge him his victory after he had looked all over the winner of the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival before failing to withstand an extraordinary finishing effort by Champ, who made up eight lengths or more from the final fence. History was made, not by Al Boum Photo, but by Henry de Bromhead, who became the first in his profession to saddle the winners of the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the same Cheltenham Festival.