County Of Origin: Kilkenny
Date of licence: 1988
First winner: Silver Batchelor, Thurles, February 18th, 1988
Significant horses (selected): Tourist Attraction, Mystical City, Florida Pearl, Alexander Banquet, Micko's Dream, Hedgehunter, Rule Supreme, Missed That, Hurricane Fly, Sesenta, Thousand Stars, Quevega, Sir Des Champs, Annie Power, Faugheen, Vautour, Un De Sceaux, Twinlight, Nichols Canyon, Douvan, Arctic Fire, Wicklow Brave, Penhill, Yorkhill, Benie Des Dieux, Saldier.
Assoc. jockeys: Ruby Walsh, Patrick Mullins, Paul Townend, David Mullins, Danny Mullins, Katie Walsh
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Did you know:
From Goresbridge, County Kilkenny, and the dominant force in Irish National Hunt racing, Willie Mullins has been champion trainer every year since the 2008/2009 season. In all he trained 32 Grade 1 winners in 2015 and set a record for the number of winners at the Cheltenham festival with eight. He will forever be associated with the legendary Hurricane Fly, twice a winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, and who was retired from racing in 2015. In a glorious career spanning all of ten seasons, Hurricane Fly won 24 of his 32 starts over hurdles and in doing so, notched up a world-record breaking 22 victories at Grade 1 level. In his final season, Hurricane Fly landed three Grade 1 wins, including a record fifth-straight BHP Irish Champion Hurdle at his beloved Leopardstown which was to be his final success. For seven straight seasons and 30 races, he competed exclusively in Grade 1 company, his brilliance and durability enabling him set that world record of 22 Grade 1 career wins. Ten of those were in Grade 1s at Leopardstown, a venue at which he was never beaten. He was also a standing dish at Punchestown where he was a nine-time winner. He won the last three renewals of the Morgiana Hurdle at the County Kildare venue and was also a four-time winner of the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at the festival.
While no stranger to high-profile success on the Flat, Mullins broke new ground when he captured his first Classic win with the Frankie Dettori-ridden Wicklow Brave, owned by Wicklow Bloodstock (Ireland) Ltd, who beat 1/7 favourite Order Of St George in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh on Longines Irish Champions Weekend in September 2016. Just a few weeks later, it was announced that, following a disagreement over a rise in training fees, Mullins would no longer be training for leading owners Gigginstown House Stud. Close to 60 horses left Mullins' yard including the Cheltenham Gold Cup third Don Poli, Ryanair Chase runner-up Valseur Lido and dual Grade One-winning hurdler Apple's Jade. Willie Mullins reached a notable milestone in his remarkable training career when Un De Sceaux gave him his 50th Cheltenham Festival winner when taking the Ryanair Chase on March 16th, 2017. His Festival tally stands at 54 winners. To retain his trainers' championship at the end of the 2016/2017 season, Willie just go the better of Gordon Elliott. Elliott led the championship until the penultimate day of the season but had no answer to Mullins' firepower at the season-ending Irish National Hunt Festival at Punchestown. Willie set the record for the number of winners in a season with 193 in 2012/2013 and this tally was matched by Elliott in 2016/2017.
On the second day of the Irish National Hunt Festival at Punchestown on Tuesday, April 25, 2018, Willie saddled six of the seven winners, Pravalaguna (Paul Townend), Next Destination (Paul Townend), Bellshill (David Mullins), Tornado Flyer (Richie Deegan), Patricks Park (Paul Townend) and Colreevy (Patrick Mullins). It was his first time to achieve such a feat. Three days later, Willie was crowned champion trainer for the 12th time in his career with record prize-money of €5,968,275 and a record 212 winners. In all, he trained a record 18 winners at the 2018 Punchestown festival.