Ireland's Champion trainer Willie Mullins is incredibly well known in the UK but until recently has always had a more reserved approach to entering British races, preferring instead to stay in Ireland for the bulk of his races. But seemingly that is all about to change as he has confirmed plans to become more of a presence on the National Hunt scene in the UK.
With the recent and permanent acquisition of Grand National winning jockey Ruby Walsh, from Paul Nicholls, Mullins has sited a number of reasons for his decision to enter more races across the Irish sea, namely, the interests of his owners.
Mullins said “I have quite a few owners based there and they would enjoy seeing their horses run in England more often.”
And of course, with Walsh no longer riding for Nicholls it also gives him an edge when it comes to the courses and the fact that he won't be compelled to ride for Nicholls first.
He stated “I will be coming over much more regularly with our better horses. It makes sense, especially now I have Ruby around all the time. His knowledge of British courses and horses will be a huge help.”
For a trainer of Mullins calibre and with horses such as Hurricane Fly, Boston Bob, Back In Focus, Diakali, Mikael D’Haguenet, Prince de Beauchene and On His Own to name just a small few, it may come as a surprise that last season he only had 51 runs in the UK, wining six of them and netting over £200K in prize money.
But overall, Mullins literally made millions with 193 wins from 595 runs, which is a staggering 32% win rate. He also had 117 second place finishes along with 68 third places and 53 fourth places with total prize money of €3,908,059. With stats like that it's no wonder that bookmakers have already got him at odds of 25/1 to become Britain's leading trainer which is certain to give Henderson, Nicholls and McCain a run for their money!
And no doubt he will be in full flow by the time the 2014 Crabbies Grand National rolls around and already has the honour of having the ante-post favourite in Back In Focus who is currently 25/1 with Paddy Power so watch this space…