Willie Mullins profile – 6 entries in John Smith’s Grand National
Willie Mullins based at Bagenalstown, County Carlow, was born on Saturday, September 15, 1956. Willie was the six-time amateur champion rider in Ireland and his major successes in the saddle included the 1983 John Smith’sFox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree on Atha Cliath when the also-rans were partnered by the likes of Robert Waley-Cohen and Aintree chairman Lord Daresbury.
Willie began training in 1988 and is now the country’s pre-eminent jump handler. He hails from one of Ireland’s most famous racing families, being a son of the late Paddy Mullins, the outstanding all-round trainer whose star was Dawn Run, winner of the 1984 Champion Hurdle and 1986 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins rode and trained Wither Or Which to win the 1996 Weatherbys Champion Bumper, the Cheltenham Festival race in which he has trained five winners (Florida Pearl 1997, Alexander Banquet 1998, Joe Cullen 2000, Missed That 2005 and Cousin Vinny 2008).
Willie saddled Rule Supreme to win the RSA Chase at the 2004 Cheltenham Festival and sent out the same horse to win the Irish Hennessy in 2005. His best chaser to date has been Florida Pearl, placed in two Cheltenham Gold Cups, he won the 1998 RSA Chase, the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004 Irish Hennessy Cognac Gold Cups in Ireland, the 2001 King George VI Chase and the 2002 totesport Bowl at Aintree.
In 2011, Willie trained the brilliant Hurricane Fly to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, having won the Irish equivalent in January. He was also leading trainer with four victories at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, where he has been successful21 times.
Wille has over 150 horses at his Closutton yard near Bagenalstown in Co Carlow and his first John Smith’s Grand National runner as a trainer, Micko’s Dream, fell at the first in 2000, while, as a jockey, his rides included The Ladys Master, who ran out in 1983, and Hazy Dawn, who fell at the sixth the following year.
A former chairman of the Irish Trainers’ Federation, Willie suffered heartache in 2004 when Hedgehunter departed at the final fence in the John Smith’s Grand National when looking assured of a place. The trainer overcame bad luck in the big race the following year when Hedgehunter came home 14 lengths clear of Royal Auclair.
Hedgehunter was then second in 2006, ninth in 2007 and 13th on his final start in 2008 when stable companion Snowy Morning came third. Willie Mullins has been champion Irish jump trainer for the past three seasons and is on course for a fourth title in 2010/2011.
Willie has six remaining entries in Saturday’s big race: Arbor Supreme, Dooney’s Gate, Scotsirish, The Midnight Club, Our Monty, Pomme Tiepy
John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2000 Micko’s Dream (Fell 1st); 2002 Alexander Banquet (UR 6th); 2004 Alexander Banquet (Fell 18th),Hedgehunter (Fell 30th); 2005 HEDGEHUNTER (WON); 2006 Hedgehunter (2nd); 2007 Hedgehunter (9th), Homer Wells (PU bef 22nd), Bothar Na (PU bef29th), Livingstonebramble (UR 6th); 2008 Snowy Morning (3rd), Hedgehunter (13th); 2009 Snowy Morning (9th), Irish Invader (11th); 2010 Snowy Morning(6th), Arbor Supreme (UR 15th)
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