Christmas is said to be the most wonderful time of the year and it certainly was for Willie Mullins as he pulled clear at the top of the Leading Trainers standings with a raft of winners, writes Bradley West.
In the race to be crowned Champion Trainer Mullins stole a march on his great rival Gordon Elliott over the festive period, helped in large part by a fantastic 13 winners at Leopardstown Christmas Festival.
The Master of Closutton took five Group 1 victories at the meeting with Franco De Port in the Racing Post Novice Chase, Chacun Pour Soi in the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase, Appreciate It in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle, Sharjah in the
Matheson Hurdle and Monkfish in the Neville Hotels Novice Steeplechase.
And this, combined with further winners in December and at Tramore and Cork to kick off the New Year, has seen Mullins’ total prize money rise to €2,119,680 - €19,000 clear of Elliott.
Second placed Elliott, who was forced to miss Leopardstown in person due to a period of self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, still has the better of Mullins in the win stakes though.
His 125 wins is 21 clear of Mullins after he racked up wins over Christmas with the likes of Zanahiyr, Wide Receiver, Ballycairn and Hollow Games.
But, the big money Group 1 victories eluded Elliott to see him drop to second with €2,100,365 total prize money.
That total is some way clear of third place however, which Henry de Bromhead occupies with €1,274,970.
The County Waterford trainer now has an impressive 69 winners to his name for the season and he netted a brilliant prize of €90,000 thanks to A Plus Tard’s Group 1 victory in the Savills Steeplechase at Leopardstown.
Joseph O’Brien is in fourth place on €619,800 with two €12,600 winners’ prizes racked up on the same day in December thanks to wins at Dundalk and Down Royal.
Meanwhile, rounding out the top five is Gavin Cromwell on €578,450.
His big December victory came through Flooring Porter in the Group 1 Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle which netted him a cool €60,000.