Trainer Emmet Mullins caused quite the stir last spring as Noble Yeats left his Aintree rivals trailing for a stunning 50/1 success in the Grand National and the continues make the headlines.
The Co Carlow-based handler has developed quite a reputation as a trainer well capable of targeting major races and while Noble Yeats wasn't quite able to win back-to-back Grand Nationals, there have been some notable successes again this season.
|Where||Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool|
|When||5.15, Saturday 13th April 2024|
|How to watch||bet365 live Sports Streaming Service, ITV and Racing TV|
|Odds||Corach Rambler 20/1, Noble Yeats 25/1, I Am Maximus 25/1, Vanillier 25/1, Mr Incredible 33/1, Delta Work 33/1|
Mullins has quickly established himself a trainer with the ability to pick a major race target and get there with a leading chance.
Noble Yeats, owned by Robert Waley-Cohen and ridden by his son, Gold Cup-winning amateur Sam, defied an 82-year trend in becoming the first seven-year-old to win the great race since the Second World War.
It was the latest in a series of superbly executed big-race plots that Mullins, nephew of Willie, had masterminded and certainly helped bring him to the attention of a wider sporting public.
Noble Yeats was progressive again through his 2022/23 season and went off a 10/1 chance to retain the National crown, though on this occasion with Sean Bowen on board he could only manage fifth as Corach Rambler won for Lucinda Russell and Scotland in impressive fashion.
It wasn't just Noble Yeats' success at Aintree that catapulted Mullins into the public eye.
Perhaps the first major coup pulled off was when The Shunter landed a major spring double in 2021.
He won the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle at in early March and went on to Cheltenham 12 days later to win the Plate over fences, collecting a £50,000 bonus from bet365 in doing so.
This season, Noble Yeats has made further progress. He was pulled up at Auteuil on his comeback but landed a Listed contest at Wexford in October and then going back to his beloved Aintree and winning the Many Clouds Chase in December when defeating the likes of Dashel Drasher and Ahoy Seno for that Grade 2 victory.
He was then defeated at Cheltenham on Trials Day in January, finishing third as Ahoy Senor won the Cotswolds Chase but Noble Yeats ran a stormer when fourth in the Gold Cup in March, staying on to excellent effect late on Galopin Des Champs and Bravemansgame enjoyed a personal duel up front.
That teed him up for Aintree, where he was an honourable fifth behind well-handicapped Corach Rambler and Noble Yeats is a 25/1 to return to Merseyside and win the National in 2024.
Mullins may not have managed a second National win but before the season ended he had one more great moment to showcase his forward-thinking and often unique approach to training.
Remarkably, Feronily had only joined Mullins after winning a point-to-point in November. He was third in a Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival in February, fourth in the Grade 2 bet365 Premier Novices' Hurdle at Kelso the following month and won a Limerick maiden hurdle in late March.
He was thrown into a Grade 3 on his fencing bow and was second behind experienced Bachasson before going to Punchestown and defeating the likes of Appreciate It, Sir Gerhard and Journey With Me to collect the €75,000 top prize.
In doing so he gave Donagh Meyler his first taste of Grade 1 success and once more showcase his trainer's ability for thinking outside the box. Feronily is a 33/1 chance to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2024.