Feast for National Hunt fans with Paddy Mullins – The Great Stayer

Co Kilkenny trainer passed away four years ago, but left a rich legacy

Paddy Mullins was head of one of the most famous National Hunt families in this country.

For those who can't wait for the feast of National Hunt racing to begin on St Stephen's day, Setanta will air Paddy Mullins – The Great Stayer on Christmas night at 9pm, which is free to air for the documentary's duration.

The Co Kilkenny trainer passed away, aged 91, in October 2010, but left behind a rich legacy. Mullins’ contribution to Irish racing was immense before he announced his retirement, aged 86, on February 26th, 2005 after a career that spanned 52 years.

Head of one of the most famous National Hunt families in this country, he is the only trainer to win the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup with the same horse, a feat he achieved with the mare Dawn Run in 1984 and 1986.

In total, he saddled six Cheltenham Festival winners (Herring Gull, Counsel Cottage, Hazy Dawn and Macks Friendly were his other four).


A man of many talents, he saddled Hurry Harriet to win the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in 1973 (beating the brilliant French filly Allez France) as well as saddling four Irish Grand National winners (Luska 1981, Dim Wit 1972, Herring Gull 1968 and Vulpine 1967).

His achievements in 2003 (at the age of 84) were remarkable, with victories in the Irish Oaks (his first Classic success) with Vintage Tipple and the Galway Plate (his third following The Gooser and Boro Quarter) with Nearly A Moose. Other horses of note he handled were Grabel and Minorettes Girl. Grabel's victory in the $750,000 International Hurdle at the Dueling Grounds in Kentucky (1990) rated right up there with the very best of any international training achievement.

Son Tom, who recorded his first Cheltenham Festival winner when Alderwood landed the 2012 County Hurdle, took over his father’s horses while other sons Willie (amateur) and Tony were talented jockeys before launching successful training careers.

Paddy Mullins – The Great Stayer also shows how Paddy's outstanding achievements have filtered down to an incredible dynasty he left behind and who are now carrying on his all-conquering achievements.

The contributors include his wife Maureen and family, Jonjo O' Neill, Frankie Dettori, Stan Mellor, Robert Hall, Noel Meade, Jim Bolger, John Oxx, Brian Kavanagh and Jacqueline O'Brien among others.

Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the hour-long programme was produced by Bankos Tales Productions.