Willie Mullins: Cheltenham Festival Trainer Profile

Martin Green

Monday, March 4, 2019 11:37 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 4, 2019 11:37 PM UTC

Willie Mullins is the most successful trainer in Cheltenham Festival history and he will have a very strong hand in the big races this year.

<p><strong>Date of licence: </strong>1988</p><p><strong>Origin:</strong> Kilkenny</p><p><strong>Record:</strong> 166 wins from 654 runs in 2018/19, with a win record of 25%, plus 100 second places and 99 thirds, with total earnings of €3.85 million</p><p><strong>Cheltenham Festival wins:</strong> 61</p><p><strong>Leading trainer at Cheltenham awards:</strong> 5</p><p><strong>Years competing at Cheltenham Festival:</strong> 1995-present</p><p><strong>Festival highlights:</strong> Hurricane Fly won the Champion Hurdle in 2011 and 2013, Faugheen won it in 2015 and Annie Power the following year; Penhill won the Stayers’ Hurdle in 2018; Vautour won the Ryanair Chase in 2016 and Un De Sceaux won it in 2016</p><p><strong>Associated jockeys:</strong> Ruby Walsh, Patrick Mullins, Paul Townend, David Mullins, Danny Mullins, Rachael Blackmore</p><p><strong>Significant horses:</strong> Faugheen, Douvan, Nichols Canyon, Un De Sceaux, Hurricane Fly, Annie Power, Benie Des Dieux, Rathvinden, Laurina, Footpad, Let’s Dance, Yorkhill, Vautour</p><h2><strong>Did you know?</strong></h2><p>Mullins became the most successful trainer in <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/cheltenham-festival-2019-horse-racing-tips-and-essential-betting-guide/89503/" target="_blank" title="Cheltenham Festival">Cheltenham Festival</a> history when Laurina handed him a 61<sup>st</sup> winner by clinching the Mares’ Novice Hurdle last year. That saw him leapfrog Nicky Henderson in the all-time chart, despite starting his Cheltenham career a decade later than his rival. He has been named leading trainer at the National Hunt scene’s most prestigious meeting on five occasions, and he needs just one more to move level with Paul Nicholls.</p><p>This time around he is third favourite in the <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/cheltenham-festival-who-will-be-crowned-top-trainer/89515/" target="_blank" title="leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival odds">leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival odds</a>, behind compatriot Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson. Mullins’ bountiful partnership with Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud ended in 2016 amid a row over training fees. That saw him lose 60 horses, and O’Leary has since thrown his weight behind Elliott, who has been the top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival for the past two years. Yet Mullins continues to be named the Irish champion trainer, and at odds of 7/2 (4.50) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b" target="_blank" title="William Hill">William Hill</a>, <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=b4150791-892f-469b-9b6a-7dfc6df0fb07" target="_blank" title="William Hill">Ladbrokes</a> and <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=acd6b93a-905e-45af-90ef-7eb1df661829" target="_blank" title="Coral">Coral</a>, he might make a good bet to clinch a sixth leading trainer award.</p><p>Ruby Walsh is back to full fitness and he can resume his partnership with the Closutton maestro, and that is a formidable team heading into this festival. Walsh has picked out Benie Des Dieux, the 6/5 favourite with William Hill in the Mares’ Hurdle, as a leading light from the Mullins stable this year. Laurina and Footpad will also be back, while Bellshill and Al Boum Photo are worth looking out for too. The legendary Faugheen is also being primed for a run at the <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/cheltenham-festival-stayers-hurdle-betting-preview/89510/" target="_blank" title="Stayers’ Hurdle">Stayers’ Hurdle</a> and it could result in a fairy-tale victory for the popular horse.</p>
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