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Horse Racing profile: Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins is the all-conquering jumps trainer in Britain and Ireland and consistently mops up some of the major prizes in the game.

He’s had over 90 Cheltenham Festival winners during his illustrious training career, so it’s a big surprise that he has only had one Grand National winner to date and that came in 2005.

Hedgehunter was steered home by Ruby Walsh at Aintree and, while Mullins has become the dominant force in National Hunt racing over the last decade, a second Aintree success has so far eluded him. 

Willie Mullins' Cheltenham Festival record

Mullins is the most successful trainer in Cheltenham Festival history and has won the Gold Cup on three separate occasions.

His first win in the Prestbury Park showpiece came in 2019, when Al Boum Photo won the first of his back-to-back victories.

Galopin Des Champs gave Mullins a hat-trick of Gold Cup successes in 2023, when he stormed up the hill to comfortably see off his rivals by seven lengths. The Greg Turley-owned charge is 2/1 to win back-to-back Gold Cups.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is one race that eluded him for a number of years, until the arrival of Energumene - who won the Grade 1 contest in 2022 and 2023 and is 3/1 to complete the hat-trick in 2024.

The Irish trainer’s first Cheltenham victory came in 1995, when Tourist Attraction won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle - a race he has won on a further six occasions.

Mullins has claimed four Champion Hurdle wins over the years, the first of which was with Hurricane Fly in 2011 and the most recent was Annie Power’s victory in 2016.

His most successful Festival race though is the Champion Bumper, a contest he has won on no fewer than 12 times.

Facile Vega was Mullins’ last winner in the 2m race, in 2022, with the gelding currently available to back at 5/1 to win the Arkle Chase in 2024.

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Willie Mullins' Grand National record

Mullins took the Aintree prize in 2005 when Hedgehunter was sent off the 7/1 favourite in the hands of Ruby Walsh in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings.

He'd run a year previously but took a tired fall late on. This time, Hedgehunter really took to the challenge with Walsh replacing David Casey in the saddle, as they powered home 14 lengths clear of Royal Auclairin second spot.

Hedgehunter would contest the National again in the next three years. He was a gallant second behind Numbersixvalverde having started joint-favourite in 2006, while he was down the field in two further runs.

All of his four completed attempts came in the hands of Walsh. Despite the armoury he has assembled in the intervening years, Mullins has yet to add to that tally, though there have been some close calls in recent seasons with Pleasant Company second in 2018, Rathvinden third a year later and then a third for Gaillard Du Mesnilfor the Closutton supremo.

Gaillard Du Mesnil, who will be eight years old in 2024, is likely to head to Aintree again and is 25/1 to bring Mullins his second Grand National success.

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