Trainer Willie Mullins hails his 'mind-blowing' success

Trainer Willie Mullins hails his ‘mind-blowing’ success after Galopin Des Champs secures his third Cheltenham Gold Cup and takes his tally for Festival wins to 94

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Willie Mullins paused for a moment as he let it all sink in. Galopin Des Champs had given him his third Cheltenham Gold Cup, his sixth winner of another spectacular week and moved his tally for Festival wins to 94.

Mullins could reach a century in 12 months. Such domination in National Hunt racing has never been seen and, in Galopin Des Champs, he has a horse with the natural ability and exuberance that could, one day, see him compared to greats such as Kauto Star.

Casual observers may see Mullins winning with a favourite as being run of the mill but the reaction of the man himself told you he cannot quite fathom what he is living through.

‘I find it mind-blowing,’ said Mullins. ‘I can’t comprehend the numbers we have in training at home. I can’t comprehend the quality of horse we have. It’s just something nobody ever dreamed of in a National Hunt yard.

‘The day I got my licence, if someone had said to me, “You’ll have 60 horses for the rest of your career”, I would have grabbed that. Top trainers, nobody had more than 60 horses: Fred Winter, Fulke Walwyn, “The Duke” (David Nicholson). You were lucky if you had one Grade One horse.

Jockey Paul Townend (left) and trainer Willie Mullins celebrate with the Gold Cup trophy

‘Every night, I go through the barns and I pinch myself. Jackie (his wife) and I are as in awe as you to see the horses we have.’

The three men Mullins referenced were National Hunt giants, all of whom have races named in their honour at the Festival. It is inconceivable that Mullins, 66, will not be given the same accolade in future.

‘You live and learn and you try to get better,’ said Mullins, who has endured plenty of frustration in the Gold Cup. ‘I remember coming home and saying to Jackie once, “Will we ever have a horse good enough to run in the Gold Cup?”

‘We just wanted a runner, never mind winning it. At one stage, the top horse in my yard was a 126-rated hurdler. We don’t take any of this for granted.

‘Paul (Townend, Galopin Des Champs’ jockey) told me he couldn’t pull him up after the race. It’s a great indication of what we have. We have a Gold Cup horse.’

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