Willie Mullins is no stranger to landmarks but described
hitting 4,000 winners as an achievement ‘too big to take in’, writes Paul
The master of Closutton hit his latest milestone when Bronn took Saturday’s opener at Fairyhouse with Daryl Jacob on board.
Mullins’ haul has included 88 Cheltenham Festival winners – a tally set to rise significantly in mid-March – and seen him land winners across the globe, from Australia to Saudi Arabia and Japan to USA.
“I'm absolutely amazed. I had absolutely no idea we were in that area," he told the Racing Post.
"It has been an amazing ride, with the owners, the staff, Patrick (his son), the family and the jockeys. My wife, Jackie, has also been a huge part of the operation, keeping me focused.
"There are people who are still in the yard who started with us, people like David Casey, Ruby and our head man Dick Dowling.
“There are lots of people who have been there for years and years and I'm delighted for them. I'm especially delighted for our owners.
“We are lucky to have them. They are the most important part of our business.
"It's too big to take it all in but, for me, it's all about the people I've met along the way. It has been amazing."
Mullins is on course to become Ireland’s champion trainer for a 17th time this season and only Dermot Weld has trained more career winners among his compatriots.
Jockey Jacob was delighted to play his part in achieving the record after joining an illustrious list of those to have brought up Mullins’ milestones.
Davy Condon was on board for his 1,000th winner in 2007, Ruby Walsh for number 2,000 in 2013 and Danny Mullins ticked off the next four-figure mark five-and-a-half years later.
"It was great to be a very small part of history,” Jacob said.
“No words can really describe how good a man Willie is and what he has achieved. To be a small part of that history is fantastic.”
Mullins was at Cheltenham, rather than Fairyhouse, taking in Trials Day ahead of this year’s Festival and later watched Energumene suffer a shock defeat in the re-arranged Clarence House Chase.
Frozen off at Ascot last week, the Grade 1 was placed among a glittering Saturday card and saw 14/1 shot Editeur Du Gite land the spoils ahead of Edwardstone, with last year’s Champion Chase winner – who went off the 4/9 favourite – back in third.
There was brighter news for the Irish contingent in the opener, the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle, with Joseph O’Brien’s 2/1 favourite Comfort Zone coming home by just under a length with Jonjo O’Neill Jr on board.