Jumps Season - At The Races

Willie Mullins

    Eleven-times Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins had another superb season in 2015/16, saddling seven winners at the Cheltenham Festival and being pipped to the British Trainers’ Championship only on the final day of the season. Despite a recent split with Gigginstown, he still has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal for the coming campaign.
  • Features

What more can be said about Willie Mullins that hasn’t already been said? While he has been considered a top trainer for well over two decades, claiming his first Champion Trainer title in 2000/01, it has been since 2007/08 that Mullins has taken his performance to previously unheard of levels.

In February 2013, with over two months of the season remaining, he broke Aidan O’Brien’s record haul of winners in a season of 156 in 1995/96 and eventually went on to record a scarcely-believable total of 193 winners.

Well established as the most successful Irish-based trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival with 48 winners at the meeting, Mullins has trained a sequence of household names such as Florida Pearl, Hedgehunter, Quevega, Hurricane Fly, Faugheen plus, two of the stars of last season, Champion Hurdle heroine Annie Power and Arkle Chase hero Douvan.

Despite the recent split with Gigginstown House Stud Mullins still has a formidable team of horses at his disposal for the upcoming season and he was good enough to talk attheraces.com’s Kevin Blake through his string.

Horse profiles

Annie Power (IRE)

A 166-rated hurdler, she has won 15 of her 17 starts, but was only given her chance to shine at the very highest level at the backend of last season, with her subbing in to replace the injured Faugheen in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and producing an impressive winning performance which she backed up in even more impressive style in the Aintree Hurdle.

“She’s in good order and all is well with her. She’ll be going down the Champion Hurdle route and we have the Morgiana Hurdle pencilled in as a possibility for her return.”

Video Form
17 Feb 2016:
2 May 2015:

Arctic Fire (GER)

A 163-rated hurdler, he progressed into one of the leading hurdlers around in 2014/15 and was likely to play another major role at the spring festivals last season only to be ruled out through injury.

“Arctic Fire was late coming back in and probably won’t be back at the races until the second half of the season. We won’t decide which route he’ll go down until he’s nearly ready to run, but while he does have the size to jump a fence, if he’s that bit later starting off for the season, we might hold onto his novice status over fences until next season and stay over hurdles for this season.”

Video Form
28 Apr 2017:
24 Jan 2016:
28 Dec 2015:
29 Nov 2015:
8 Nov 2015:

Asthuria (FR)

  • 6-y-o; bay mare
  • Breeding: Sagacity - Baturia (Turgeon)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Killarney, 14 May 2017 15:05
  • Result: Won/7, made all, slight mistake 4 out, pushed along to assert from 3 out, in command from last, kept on well run-in, eased near finish
  • View full form

A French import, she made an eye-catching Irish debut when third to Jer’s Girl in a Grade 1 mares’ novice hurdle at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.

“I was very happy with her run at the Punchestown Festival. She still has her novice status and I see her as a smart staying novice hurdler in the making.”

Video Form
14 May 2017:
27 Apr 2017:
4 Feb 2017:
18 Dec 2016:
16 Nov 2016:

Augusta Kate (GB)

  • 6-y-o; bay mare
  • Breeding: Yeats - Feathard Lady (Accordion)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 29 Apr 2017 15:50
  • Result: 5/7, held up towards rear, switched left after 4 out and closer order, moderate 4th before 2 out, soon no impression, slow jump at last and no extra
  • View full form

A high-class performer in bumpers last season, she won three of her five starts.

“She’s a lovely novice hurdle prospect for the season. I haven’t had any great worries for her with regard to ground and being by Yeats, she should stay further than two miles. She isn’t that far away from starting off.”

Video Form
29 Apr 2017:
16 Apr 2017:
8 Jan 2017:
24 Nov 2016:
27 Apr 2016:

Battleford (GB)

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Midnight Legend - Well Maid (Saddlers' Hall)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 26 Apr 2017 16:20
  • Result: 2/10, mid-division, 5th at 5th, mistake next, ridden in moderate 4th after 2 out, went moderate 2nd at last, kept on well under pressure run-in, not reach winner
  • View full form

A high-class performer in bumpers last season, he won at Punchestown prior to finishing a nose second in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival and runner-up in a Grade 2 contest at Aintree.

“He looks like a good novice hurdle prospect, possibly more so in the staying division. He should be out soon enough.”

Video Form
26 Apr 2017:
2 Feb 2017:
19 Jan 2017:
29 Dec 2016:
27 Nov 2016:

Bellshill (IRE)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: King's Theatre - Fairy Native (Be My Native)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 15 Mar 2017 14:10
  • Result: 3/12, held up towards rear, hampered 3rd, headway 14th, 3rd 3 out, no impression before next, stayed on same pace
  • View full form

A 148-rated hurdler, he won four of his seven starts in novice hurdles last year including Grade 1 contests at Naas and at the Punchestown Festival.

“He is a fine stamp of a horse and the plan is to go chasing with him. He looks like a stayer in the making.”

Video Form
12 Feb 2017:
26 Dec 2016:
26 Nov 2016:
27 Apr 2016:
6 Feb 2016:

Black Hercules

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Heron Island - Annalecky (Bob's Return)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Thurles, 19 Jan 2017 14:15
  • Result: 3/6, held up in 4th, slight mistake 2nd, pushed along briefly 4 out, soon closer, ridden after 3 out, under pressure in 3rd 2 out, soon no impression on leaders, kept on one pace
  • View full form

A 158-rated chaser, he won all three of his completed starts over fences in 2015/16, most notably the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

“We started him off campaigning him as a stayer over fences, but his style of racing led to us bringing him back in trip and he was very good at Cheltenham. We see him as a middle-distance chaser, but he could possibly try even shorter trips.”

Video Form
19 Jan 2017:
27 Dec 2016:
11 Dec 2016:
14 Feb 2016:
14 Dec 2015:

Djakadam (FR)

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Saint Des Saints - Rainbow Crest (Baryshnikov)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 26 Apr 2017 17:30
  • Result: 2/6, tracked leaders in 3rd, went 2nd 4 out, ridden entering straight, led narrowly after 2 out, joined and mistake at last, kept on under pressure inside final furlong, headed and no extra close home
  • View full form

A 170-rated chaser, he is well established as one of the leading staying chasers around having finished second in the last two renewals of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“He’ll go down more or less the same route as last season. He is maturing away the whole time and I’d be hopeful he could find a little bit of improvement.”

Video Form
26 Apr 2017:
28 Dec 2016:
11 Dec 2016:
27 Apr 2016:
6 Dec 2015:

Douvan (FR)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Walk In The Park - Star Face (Saint Des Saints)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 15 Mar 2017 15:30
  • Result: 7/10, led until after 1st, tracked leaders, went 2nd 6th, hit 3 out, lost 2nd and soon beaten, well held 2 out
  • View full form

A 169-rated chaser, he was the outstanding novice chaser of last season, winning all six of his starts in facile fashion including spectacular winning performances in Grade 1 races at the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown Festivals.

“He’s obviously very exciting. I think we’ll start him off at two miles and work our way through the season, with trying longer trips being a possibility.”

Video Form
5 Feb 2017:
27 Dec 2016:
11 Dec 2016:
28 Apr 2016:
24 Jan 2016:

Faugheen

  • 9-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Germany - Miss Pickering (Accordion)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 24 Jan 2016 15:05
  • Result: Won/5, made all, soon pressed, asserted entering straight, eased clear before last where mistake, shaken up briefly run-in, very easily
  • View full form

A 176-rated hurdler, he has won 11 of his 12 career starts over hurdles, but missed the chance to defend his Champion Hurdle crown at the Cheltenham Festival last year due to injury.

“He’s in good shape and his starting point will be either the Morgiana Hurdle or the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. He won’t have any problem with two-and-a-half miles in the Hatton’s Grace if we point him in that direction. He’ll be one that we play by ear as the season progresses.”

Video Form
24 Jan 2016:
15 Nov 2015:
1 May 2015:

Great Field (FR)

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Great Pretender - Eaton Lass (Definate Article)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 27 Apr 2017 18:40
  • Result: Won/8, made all, soon went on, slight mistake 3rd, reduced lead 7th, good jump 4 out and extended lead again, slight mistake 2 out, asserted from before last, ridden out and stayed on well run-in
  • View full form

A 147-rated hurdler, he made an impressive winning Irish debut in a conditions hurdle at Leopardstown in February, but was pulled up went off joint-favourite for the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He gave himself no chance in the County Hurdle by racing too freely. He’s probably more of a chaser than a hurdler, but it hasn’t been decided what route he’ll go down this season just yet.”

Video Form
27 Apr 2017:
25 Mar 2017:
5 Mar 2017:
26 Jan 2017:
28 Feb 2016:

Invitation Only

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Flemensfirth - Norabelle (Alamo Bay)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Fairyhouse, 2 Apr 2017 16:05
  • Result: 6/9, settled mid-division, 6th halfway, improved to challenge and slight mistake 3 out, disputed before 2 out, ridden and headed before last, no extra in 5th when slightly hampered last, kept on one pace
  • View full form

A point-to-point winner, he won both his starts in bumpers last season.

“He looks like a staying novice hurdler in the making. He isn’t that far off a run.”

Video Form
2 Apr 2017:
18 Dec 2016:
26 Nov 2016:
28 Apr 2016:
13 Mar 2016:

Ivan Grozny (FR)

A 153-rated hurdler, he has come good in recent starts over hurdles, winning four of his last five starts over obstacles including a Grade 2 contest at Tipperary in October.

“He is another one that could come into the picture for the Morgiana Hurdle. We’ve changed tactics with him, but as much as anything I think he has just matured.”

Video Form
6 Jul 2017:
28 Apr 2017:
28 Jan 2017:
2 Oct 2016:
29 Jul 2016:

Killultagh Vic

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Old Vic - Killultagh Dawn (Phardante)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 17 Jan 2016 15:30
  • Result: Won/5, led, 6 lengths clear halfway, reduced advantage 2 out, travelled well and 4 lengths clear when sprawled badly on landing last, rider lost iron and dropped to 3rd, stayed on well run-in to lead again close home
  • View full form

A 149-rated hurdler, he made a very good impressive in winning both his starts over fences last season, with his miraculous recovery from a calamitous error at the final fence in a Grade 2 contest at Leopardstown being one of the most memorable moments of last season. He picked up an injury soon after that which ruled him out of the rest of the season.

“We’ve decided to give him more time to recover from the injury he picked up last season and he won’t be back on the track until the second half of the season. He looks like a stayer to me and three miles should suit him well.”

Video Form
17 Jan 2016:
19 Dec 2015:
29 Apr 2015:
25 Jan 2015:
13 Nov 2014:

Limini (IRE)

  • 6-y-o; chestnut mare
  • Breeding: Peintre Celebre - Her Grace (Spectrum)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 14 Mar 2017 16:10
  • Result: 3/17, held up mid-division, tracked leaders 4 out, driven to challenge on inside between last 2, not fluent last, soon ridden, kept on and every chance flat, no extra towards finish
  • View full form

A French import, she won her first three starts over hurdles for Mullins, most notably the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, prior to coming up a bit short at Grade 1 level later in the season.

“She has been a little bit slow to come to herself, but she will stay hurdling and will hopefully be back in time to run at Christmas. She was a bit unlucky on her last run at Punchestown, as Whiteout got a very good ride from the front that day and Limini just had a bit too much to do to catch her. I’m hoping she will stay far enough to make up into a contender for the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.”

Video Form
22 Feb 2017:
30 Apr 2016:
30 Jan 2016:
16 May 2015:

Min (FR)

A 154-rated hurdler, he was one of the talking horses of last season, winning his first two starts for Mullins in impressive style, but finding Altior too good for him in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

“The plan is to go novice chasing with him. I’m very pleased with how he did over the summer and how he’s going at home. I think he was just beaten by a very good horse at Cheltenham.”

Video Form
26 Dec 2016:
27 Nov 2016:
9 Jan 2016:
10 Dec 2015:

Nichols Canyon (GB)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Authorized - Zam Zoom (Dalakhani)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 27 Apr 2017 17:30
  • Result: 2/12, mid-division, 7th from 5th, closed 3 out, 3rd next, 2nd before straight travelling smoothly, challenged at last, every chance and stayed on well run-in, just failed
  • View full form

A 162-rated hurdler, he has won six Grade 1 races over hurdles and acquitted himself well at the spring festivals last season.

“He’ll stay over hurdles and I imagine we’ll go down the staying route with him. He ran very well over three miles on his last start in America and that was at the end of a hard season, so you’d have to hope he’ll get it well this season.”

Video Form
27 Apr 2017:
29 Jan 2017:
29 Dec 2016:
20 Nov 2016:
24 Jan 2016:

Penhill (GB)

A 137-rated hurdler, he has won four of his five starts over hurdles including a Grade 3 novice at Tipperary in October.

“He is improving with every run and is getting braver with his jumping all the time. He could stay further than two miles, but the ground is a question mark for him, as I don’t necessarily think he will be one for winter heavy ground. He is very much in the picture for the Royal Bond.”

Video Form
26 Apr 2017:
29 Dec 2016:
4 Dec 2016:
2 Oct 2016:
17 Sep 2016:

Shaneshill

A 156-rated hurdler and 153-rated chaser, he won twice over fences prior to reverting to hurdling to twice finish in the frame in Grade 1 company at the backend of last season.

“He can do either job, but he might be more of a staying hurdler for the coming season. He should be ready to run in the next few weeks.”

Video Form
27 Apr 2017:
26 Jan 2017:
28 Dec 2016:
4 Dec 2016:
13 Nov 2016:

Un De Sceaux (FR)

  • 9-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Denham Red - Hotesse De Sceaux (April Night)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 25 Apr 2017 17:30
  • Result: 2/8, close up, led before 5th, ridden after 2 out, pressed from before last, headed and kept on same pace from early run-in
  • View full form

A 169-rated chaser, he is a four-time Grade 1 winner over fences that came up short against Sprinter Sacre on a sound surface last season, but returned to winning ways on his favoured soft ground at Auteuil in May.

“He’s in good order and would have the option of switching between hurdles and fences. We’ll be on the lookout for races in France for him throughout the season. We’ll probably keep him to between two and two-and-a-half miles and he’s probably better on softer ground than most other horses, so we’ll keep him on it as much as we can.”

Video Form
25 Apr 2017:
27 Dec 2015:
30 Apr 2015:
25 Jan 2015:
20 Dec 2014:

Up For Review (IRE)

A 148-rated hurdler, he won three of his five starts in novice hurdles last season including a Grade 2 contest at Punchestown.

“I’d imagine he’ll go down the staying novice chase route and he isn’t far off a run.”

Video Form
30 Jan 2016:
31 Dec 2015:
18 Nov 2015:
30 Apr 2015:
22 Feb 2015:

Vautour (FR)

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Robin Des Champs - Gazelle De Mai (Dom Pasquini)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 26 Apr 2016 17:30
  • Result: 2/7, tracked leaders in 3rd on outer, disputed 2nd from 5th, improved to dispute lead after 3 out, ridden and headed 2 out, dropped to 3rd at last, rallied inside final furlong and went 2nd close home, not reach winner
  • View full form

A 176-rated chaser, he has won at the last three Cheltenham Festivals, most recently when bolting up in the Ryanair Chase. While his optimum trip remains a point of debate, but he remains one of the most exciting horses in training.

“He’s in good shape and his first half of the season will probably be similar to what he did last season, with the King George being in the picture. I’m going to see how he races in his first few starts before making longer-term plans. He’s in every picture with regard to potential targets.”

Video Form
26 Apr 2016:
18 Jan 2015:
26 Dec 2014:
23 Nov 2014:

Vroum Vroum Mag (FR)

A 154-rated hurdler and 155-rated chaser, she is unbeaten in 10 starts for Mullins, with her most notable successes coming in the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

“She can do any job! She is probably top-class over both hurdles and fences. Her performance at Punchestown was fantastic and it reflected the work she had been doing at home. Given that she is in Rich Ricci’s colours and he has plenty of talent in all divisions, she could well play the role of super sub all season and take up the challenge whenever he doesn’t have another suitable runner for a big race.”

Video Form
28 Apr 2017:
28 Jan 2017:
28 Dec 2016:
4 Dec 2016:
29 Apr 2016:

Yorkhill

  • 7-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Presenting - Lightning Breeze (Saddlers' Hall)
  • Trained by: W P Mullins
  • Last Race: Fairyhouse, 16 Apr 2017 16:00
  • Result: 2/6, held up early, ran freely, jumped left throughout, led after 4th, badly left at 5th and 6 out, slight mistake 3 out, soon disputed, led before 2 out, ran around approaching last and jumped awkwardly, soon ridden and headed, rallied and just held at line
  • View full form

A 154-rated hurdler, he won four of his five starts in novice hurdles last season including the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He has won a point-to-point and jumps fences well, but we haven’t made a final decision whether he stays hurdling or goes chasing yet. I think he could make a fantastic hurdle horse. He isn’t too far away from a run.”

Video Form
16 Apr 2017:
22 Jan 2017:
17 Dec 2016:
26 Apr 2016:
6 Dec 2015:

Free £25 bet with William Hill

View offer
×