Team Mullins already plotting another title challenge if successful

Patrick Mullins has warned Britain’s leading yards that his father Willie may well aim for back-to-back victories in the jump trainers’ championship if topping the table this term.

The Closutton camp added a rather modest £4,356.80 to their tally when Patrick partnered 2-9 favourite Rath Gaul Boy to an easy success in the Dragonbet Best Odds On Welsh Sport Novices’ Hurdle at Ffos Las.

But that win showed that having already passed the £3million mark with Grand National victories at Aintree and Ayr to build up a sizeable lead over Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls, Mullins is clearly keen to take nothing for granted.

And if he becomes only the second trainer based in Ireland to claim the UK title, the inspiration is there to push on for a second straight success.

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“Myself, Ruby (Walsh) and David (Casey) would love it to be the plan from the start of the season, but Willie is always very much like mind your own garden and don’t let anyone get a foothold at home and do your best there,” Patrick Mullins told Sky Sports Racing.

“The only reason this became possible is because I Am Maximus won the National, if he hadn’t won the National, we wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have been at Ayr. It’s half a million, so we’d be fourth.

“So that changed things and we’ve been blown away by the support. People have been saying if you want to send a horse to Ffos Las or Ludlow or wherever, then do that. We’re very grateful for that.

“But Vincent O’Brien did it in the 1950s and he did it two years in a row, so if we do win it, maybe we’ll have to come back next year and emulate him! Although to emulate anything Vincent O’Brien did would be very special, because he is the legend.”

Randox Grand National 2024 – Grand National Day – Aintree Racecourse
Paul Townend aboard I Am Maximus after winning the Aintree Grand National (David Davies for the Jockey Club).

Manchester United fan Mullins was at Wembley on Saturday to watch the Red Devils reach the FA Cup final by getting past Coventry, but he took note of how they blew a 3-0 lead and came within a whisker of being knocked out in extra-time before prevailing on penalties.

Nicholls famously overturned a big deficit on the final day at Sandown when the Closutton team were last in pole position to top the table back in 2016.

“We went to Sandown before on the last day and we’ve been here before and we didn’t win, but hopefully this time we can,” added Patrick.

“The bid for the English title has really livened everything up for us at Closutton as well and we’re really enjoying it. I’m delighted to be in Ffos Las, I was delighted to be in Ayr and I can’t wait to be going to Ludlow on Wednesday.

Scottish Grand National 2024 – Ayr Racecourse – Saturday 20th April
Willie Mullins with Scottish National winner Macdermott (Robert Perry/PA).

“I haven’t seen a lot of these tracks, so it’s exciting and hopefully we can get it over the line.

“People have been very kind, we were up in Ayr and the crowd were so welcoming and very supportive of us.

“I remember when Man United used to win everything and everyone wanted to beat them, so there is that side of things when you’re successful, but Willie’s always said you take nothing for granted and you don’t know when things can change, so enjoy it while you can.

“We got the bounce of the ball in Ayr, where we got two photo-finishes. Macdermott could have been second and Chosen Witness could have been second, so that would have changed the whole thing again.”

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