Willie Mullins warns National Hunt racing could ‘disappear’

Champion trainer worried about the future of jump racing

Willie Mullins: “Looking two generations down the line, I think the sport is getting smaller and I believe we need to internationalise jumping more. If we don’t, jump racing could disappear.”

Willie Mullins: “Looking two generations down the line, I think the sport is getting smaller and I believe we need to internationalise jumping more. If we don’t, jump racing could disappear.”

 

Willie Mullins has warned that unless efforts are made to promote greater internationalisation of National Hunt racing the sport could “disappear.”

“Racing, and in particular jump racing, needs to promote itself. Cheltenham is a wonderful focus for our sport but apart from the top end I’m not sure if jump racing is growing,” the champion trainer said.

“I’m lucky enough to make a fantastic living out of it, and I hope Patrick (Mullins) can do so too. But looking two generations down the line, I think the sport is getting smaller and I believe we need to internationalise jumping more. If we don’t, jump racing could disappear.”

He added: “Look at flat racing; 35 years ago when the Japan Cup started, and Hong Kong, and then Australia promoting the Melbourne Cup, and the Breeders Cup in America: now there is an autumn circuit or circus around the world. And there are markets for flat horses around the world.

“Jump racing needs to be promoted and encouraged. At the moment we have jump racing here and in Britain. The French don’t bother travelling because they have so much prize money at home. There’s very little jump racing in Germany anymore. In Sweden it’s gone. But there’s a lot of work being done in Italy and there’s huge enthusiasm in Australia, and in Japan, and in America: we should try to work towards an international series.

“That would help encourage owners from around the world to buy National Hunt horses and we can see from the flat how people can spend here.”

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