Al Boum Photo gave trainer Willie Mullins his first victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup following a dramatic race for the showpiece event at the Prestbury Park course.

Leading at the second-last fence, Al Boum Photo (12-1) dug deep for jockey Paul Townend, who was also winning the Gold Cup for the first time.

Anibale Fly stayed on strongly to finish second, two and a half lengths away, with Bristol De Mai another three and three-quarter lengths back in third.

After six second places, Mullins finally broke his Gold Cup hoodoo. His three other runners - Kemboy, Bellshill and Invitation Only - failed to finish. 

An emotional Townend said: "I can't believe it. It's the Gold Cup, there's only one a year and I never dreamed I'd win it.

"Like any race, when you're going well it's so simple. It's unbelievable and I'm privileged to be riding for Willie Mullins." 

An elated Paul Townend celebrates aboard Al Boum Photo 

A typically understated Mullins said: "It feels great. I'm delighted for Paul and delighted for connections. It's good to get it.

"I was here when my dad (Paddy Mullins) won with Dawn Run and I didn't get home for two days.

"I sort of resigned myself to never winning a Gold Cup. Certain jockeys may never win the feature race of their lives, like the Grand National or the Champion Hurdle. I thought maybe I'm not going to be lucky."

There was a sad postscript for the winning team, however, as it later emerged the fall at the 10th fence of stablemate Invitation Only had proved to be a fatal one.