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Willie Mullins: 100 Cheltenham Festival winners

Trainer Willie Mullins continues to rewrite the boundaries of what is possible at the Cheltenham Festival and the Irishman has now pierced through the century-mark for winners.

The record-breaking Closutton chief is well on his way to being crowned Top Trainer at the Festival once more and his tally could well increase before the week is out, with plenty more stellar chances in front of him.

With Ballyburn and Fact To File comprehensive winners of their respective races, Mullins was made to wait for his century after El Fabiolo pulled up in the Champion Chase but he was all smiles again as Jasmin De Vaux landed the Champion Bumper.

As he basks in the glory of notching an incredible 100th Cheltenham Festival winner, we're taking a look back at Mullins' story so far in the Cotswolds and recalling 'Six of the Best' in the journey to a century.

Mullins the Cheltenham maestro

Nobody could have dared to suggest when Tourist Attraction won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 1995 that the winning trainer was going to have such an historic impact on this great meeting.

He was by that point a mere 39-year-old and had taken out his license in his early 30s in 1988. Mark Dwyer was on board as Tourist Attraction scored during the old three-day Festival.  

A year later, Mullins was doing the steering himself as an amateur rider when Wither Or Which gave him his first success in the Champion Bumper, a contest he has become synonymous with since.

Over nearly three decades since then, Mullins has plastered his name all over the Cheltenham Festival history books.

He's won all the Championship races on multiple occasions, though the Gold Cup gave him a litany of near misses before eventually Al Boum Photo scooped the ultimate prize in 2019.

It wouldn't be until 2011 in fact that Mullins scored the first of his wins in the Cheltenham features, Hurricane Fly snaring the Champion Hurdle under Ruby Walsh – the Festival's all-time leading rider and an inseparable ally for Mullins in his career.

His tally now stands at five Champion Hurdles, three Gold Cups, and two wins each in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle.

The Champion Bumper has seen Mullins triumph a dozen times, while the Mares' Hurdle is almost his own, introduced in 2008 and won an incredible nine times since by the 17-times Irish champion trainer.

He has, of course, got an unmatched array of talent at his disposal but that is down to the fact he is regarded as a genius by many, and so owners are queueing up to work with him. Deploying that talent in such masterful fashion is part of the Mullins aura. We may never see his likes again, so enjoy him while he's in his pomp!

Mullins by numbers

A look at some of the staggering numbers that have helped Willie Mullins to 100 Cheltenham Festival winners:

First Cheltenham winner

Tourist Attraction – 1995 Supreme Novices' Hurdle

Most wins in one year

10 (2022)

Top Trainer at The Festival

10 times

Most profitable race

Champion Bumper – 13 wins

Most successful runner

Quevega – six wins

Champion Hurdle wins

5 - Hurricane Fly (2011, 2013), Faugheen (2015), Annie Power (2016), State Man (2024)

Queen Mother Champion Chase wins

2 - Energumene (2022, 2023)

Stayers' Hurdle wins

2 - Nichols Canyon (2017), Penhill (2018)

Gold Cup wins

3 - Al Boum Photo (2019, 2020), Galopin Des Champs (2023)

Six of the Best - Mullins' landmark wins

Tourist Attraction

Supreme Novices' Hurdle - 1995

The first win. Callisoe Bay for Oliver Sherwood in the hands of Jamie Osborne went off favourite and jumped well in front.

However, Mark Dwyer produced the mare Tourist Attraction on the outside as they turned for home and they did enough to hold off Ventana Canyon for Eddie O'Grady and Charlie Swan in second.

At odds of 25/1, the name of WP Mullins was on the scoresheet for the first time.

Florida Pearl

Champion Bumper - 1997

Though Mullins himself was on board in 1996 when Wither Or Which became his first winner in the Champion Bumper, Florida Pearl deserves a mention.

Richard Dunwoody was in the plate on a horse that would go on to win at the Festival over fences in 1998 and add major prizes on home soil including Mullins' first Irish Gold Cup (1999) and Punchestown Gold Cup (2002).

He was second in Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2000.

Hurricane Fly

Champion Hurdle - 2011

No jumps horse has won more Grade 1s than Hurricane Fly's 22. He was the darling of Irish racecourses, but some setbacks meant he'd not featured at Cheltenham in 2009 or 2010.

Despite winning three Grade 1s at home en route to his first Festival, he was big as 11/4 at the off before he and Walsh powered home to give Mullins his first Championship race win.


Golden Miller Novices' Chase - 2015

Simply one of the most stunning displays of jumping witnessed in the Cotswolds as Vautour and Walsh led their rivals a merry dance and came up the Cheltenham hill in splendid isolation.

A three-time winner at the Festival, this was Vautour's tour de force and the video is worth watching.

Al Boum Photo

Gold Cup - 2019

Mullins had his share of agonising misses in the Gold Cup with the likes of Florida Pearl, Djakadam, Sir Des Champs and On His Own all finishing second.

It was being talked up as a hoodoo given his incredible success elsewhere at the meeting. That ended in 2019 when Paul Townend - then second jockey for the team - steered Al Boum Photo to the first of his back-to-back wins.


Queen Mother Champion Chase - 2022

Having secured the Gold Cup, there was just one piece of the Championship jigsaw missing now and that was the Champion Chase.

A huge duel with Shishkin was what faced Energumene in 2022 and, six weeks earlier, he'd been beaten in the Clarence House Chase by Nicky Henderson's runner.

On this day, Shishkin wasn't himself and Energumene cruised around Townend to complete Mullins' Festival masterpiece.

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