Willie Mullins pays tribute to all his staff after being crowned head coach at Cheltenham


Willie Mullins was crowned lead coach Cheltenham Festival for the ninth time after five grandiose winners on the final day.

he Closutton handler ended the week with a record 10 wins – taking his career tally to 88 at the meeting – while Paul Townend received leading jockey honours.

Mullins had to wait until the final race of day one to hit the bull’s eye when Statler, ridden by his son Patrick, won the National Hunt Chase.

On Wednesday he lifted the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle with Sir Gerhard and he also won the Queen Mother Champion Chase for the first time with Energumene, meaning Mullins has now swept all the major races of the festival clean.

He went on to complete a second daily triple as Facile Vega gave him a 12th victory in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

It wasn’t all smooth for Mullins as Galopin Des Champs was over 10 lengths ahead at Thursday’s Turners Novices’ Chase, only to stumble after jumping the last one.

Compensation for Mullins and Townend was swift as Allaho was hugely impressive again, repeating his victory from 12 months ago in the Ryanair chase.

The fourth and final day also started on a high for Mullins and Townend as Vauban impressed as the favorite to win in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, closely followed by State Man for the pair in the County Hurdle.

Mullins then won the Albert Bartlett with The Nice Guy (Sean O’Keeffe) and the Hunter Chase with Billaway (Patrick Mullins) before Elimay won the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase under Mark Walsh.

Townend has only won Best Driver for the second time after winning for the first time in 2020.

He was on board Sir Gerhard, Allaho and Energumene.

“We’re delighted,” Mullins said.

“Any winner is always good at Cheltenham and Paul rode beautifully considering what happened to Galopin Des Champs earlier in the week.

“With Paul, it seems to spur him on even more when something is going badly. It’s sport I suppose.

“When he rode State Man you could tell he was full of confidence. He dropped him right in a big field and got right around the outside.

“I didn’t realize nobody had ever coached so many winners here, but things have changed numerically since it became a four-day festival.

“I can imagine something like this happening more often and if they go five days someone will easily do it!

“I’m happy about the whole team and will accept the award with my whole team because they do it in the background and let me go.” Willie Mullins pays tribute to all his staff after being crowned head coach at Cheltenham

Fry Electronics Team

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