Mullins closes in on O'Brien's record
It looks like being a case of when and not if Willie Mullins breaks Aidan O’Brien’s record of winners trained in an Irish National Hunt season at Fairyhouse today.
After an already monumentally successful campaign, Mullins is just one shy of O’Brien’s tally of 155 winners set in the 1995/’96 season.
And with the prestige part of the term still to come, it must be short odds about the all dominant champion trainer hitting a remarkable double-century before it all winds up at Punchestown in April.
Mullins is represented in six races this afternoon, most importantly of all the Grade Two Bobbyjo Chase where Prince De Beauchene will attempt to regain the position of Aintree National favourite from his stable-companion On His Own.
But the record could already be safely under wraps by then.
Dogora brings an unbeaten two-from-two record in Ireland to the Grade Two Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle and his trainer should know exactly where he stands with the four-strong opposition as he has finished in front of them all with other horses.
Mullins runs both Glens Melody and Tasitiocht in the novice hurdle with the latter officially rated to have a couple of pounds in hand.
More prominent tactics looked to work wonders for Glens Melody on her previous start at Leopardstown though and with that information to hand, Paul Townend could go out to dominate.
The former champion jockey’s big job today is to guide Prince De Beauchene on his first start over fences since winning the Bobbyjo last year. He had barely cooled down after that, however, before being ruled out of the 2012 National through injury. He is back now though and faces a stiff test of his Aintree claims in a field where all seven hold a National entry. They include Oscar Time and Seabass, both placed at Liverpool in the past, and the latter could be the one to side with in terms of fitness following a fine run over hurdles here behind Rock Critic.
Fifteen line up for the Beginners Chase but Marasonnien stands out as a Grade One winner over flights and arrives here with a couple of good runs over fences to his credit.
Tammys Hill will attempt to secure a place in the Cheltenham Foxhunters but has to concede a lot of weight to the prolific Battlefront, winner of his last nine point to point starts.