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Who is Willie Mullins?
Who is Willie Mullins?
Willie Mullins was born on the 15th September 1956 in Goresbridge County Kilkenny Ireland, and has always been involved with horse racing. Willie was six times mature champions jockey in Ireland. The highlights of his jockey career were: Winning the 1983 Aintree Fox Hunters’ Chase on Atha Cliath, and the 1996 Cheltenham Bumper on Wither Or Which. After his riding days were done Mullins turned to training horses, he started as an assistant to his father Paddy Mullins and Jim Bolger. Willie’s father Paddy had had a glittering training career; that spanned over 52 years. Paddy trained his first winner in 1953 at Punchestown when Flash Parade won the La Touche. Paddy was in the main a jump trainer having trained Dawn Run to win the 1984 Champion Hurdle and 1986 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but his greatest successes were on the flat. In 1973, he trained Hurry Harriet, who was victorious in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, and in 2003 Vintage Tipple won the Irish Oaks.
Over the years Willie Mullins’ racing CV is impressive. In 2005 he trained Grand National winner Hedgehunter, a second National winner came Mullins way when On His Own won in 2012. Now we get to Mullins’ love affair with Cheltenham. Mullins trained the great Hurricane Fly, who won two Champion Hurdles in 2011 and 2013, Fly was one of the greats of Cheltenham. One, if not the best horse Mullins trained was the great Quevega! Quevega won six Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham from 2009-2014, a feat I can’t see being broken. Quevega was also untouchable in Ireland, winning four consecutive World Series Hurdles at Punchestown from 2010 – 2013. In 2015, Willie Mullins became the first trainer to have a 1,2,3 in the Champion Hurdle, when Faugheen, Artic Fire and Hurricane Fly finished the top three. Also, at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival Mullins trained eight winners, which is a record for the festival.
Mullins crop of 2016 is also looking impressive as his 2015 record could be in danger this year. With Faugheen looking set to retain her Champion Hurdle, after cantering around Leopardstown in January. Douvan and Un De Sceaux look very strong favourites heading to Cheltenham. Mullins also has Annie Power, Nichols Canyon, Vautour, Djakadam, Killultagh Viv, Don Poli all have fantastic chances. Add into the mix Yorkhill, Bellshill, Long Dog and Up For Review who all can’t be counted out from giving Mullins great rides at the festival.
Willie Mullins record jumps off the page for all the right reasons. The trainer has been top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival for the last three years in a row, and 4 of the previous five years. It’s not only in the UK that Mullins is feared, his record at Punchestown and Leoparedstown is impeccable as his current crop of horses seems to be able to run anywhere. It’s hard to see how 2016 isn’t going to be another great year for Willie Mullins, we are only just in February but already his stable has set the benchmark to date. Willie Mullins has already built a legacy within jump racing, a legacy that will continue to grow and grow until the day he decides to call it a day.
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