Champion Irish Trainer Willie Mullins has announced that he will have increased presence in the UK during the upcoming season. The Closutton handler has been dominating the sport in Ireland for many years and he now appears ready to launch an assault on the big prizes this side of the Irish Sea. Punters can now look forward to Mullins targeting the big Saturday races through the winter with Ruby Walsh the ideal man in the irons for the trainer. Walsh is now riding exclusively for Mullins after splitting with Paul Nicholls and his experience of the major British tracks was another element to the exciting announcement.
Mullins has a number of owners based in the UK which is sure to have played a part in the decision and such is the power of the Mullins yard, that it would be no surprise to see him racking up the big winners. We are of course used to seeing the major Irish trainers mop up the big races during the Cheltenham Festival but this new move for Mullins could well have a major impact on British racing for years to come.
Some bookmakers have already inserted Willie Mullins into the Champion Trainer Betting for the upcoming season with 25/1 available in places. That seems a little short bearing mind that he is likely to target just the major races but he has the power to have a major impact. The presence of a Mullins horse in the major Saturday National Hunt races through the winter will have a major affect on the betting. He will offer an alternative to the usually dominant Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson contenders which can only be a positive for the sport as a whole.
Assuming that the new venture is successful, Mullins has indicated that he may well look into having a satellite yard based in the UK on a full-time basis. That would be a big move for the trainer but he clearly has the resources at his disposal when it comes to the quality of his horses. Top owner Graham Wylie has a number of horses with Mullins in Ireland and he will surely be delighted to see his horses run more often in the UK, where he lives. Mullins currently trains Boston Bob, Back In Focus and Briar Hill for Wylie and they are just three of the horses who may be seen in the UK this winter ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.