Willie Mullins

Can he finally find glory this year in the handicaps and Gold Cup?

Willie Mullins at his pre-Cheltenham Open Day

He leads the charge for Ireland vs the UK in the battle for the most winners

While Co Carlow kingpin Willie has stars like Annie Power and Djakadam, the masters of Ditcheat and Jackdaws Castle won't let him have it all his own way

Willie Mullins

Cheltenham Festival wins:41

With eight victories last March and  the likes of Min, Douvan, Annie Power, Black Hercules, Vroum Vroum Mag, Un De Sceaux and Limini likely to start favourite – Mullins continues to be the dominant force in National Hunt racing. His first Cheltenham Festival winner was a 25/1 surprise when Tourist Attraction won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 1995 and since then he has won the traditional curtain raiser four more times. The Neptune Hurdle has rewarded Mullins’ supporters with three wins and five-placed horses in the last decade.

RSA Chase record of four winners and two seconds stands out while three wins apiece in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle since 2010 is unheard of. However, it is his remarkable haul of eight Champion Bumper wins and Quevega’s six Mares Hurdle victories (a race he also won again last year with Glens Melody) that stands out on his Festival C.V.

The one area where he has struggled is the handicap chases where he has yet to train a single winner and still awaits his first Gold Cup success – though he has trained the runner-up for the past three years as part of his five seconds in Cheltenham’s blue riband.

What do you think?