Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Patrick Mullins became the winning-most jockey in the modern era in the Grade Two WellChild National Hunt Chase when winning the 2023 renewal on Galillard du Mesnil, trained by his father Willie.

Patrick Mullins onboard Gaillard Du Mesnil celebrates winning The National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham
Photo: ©INPHO/Tom Maher

Mullins had previously been successful on Back In Focus (2013), Rathvinden (2018) and Stattler (2022).

Patrick Mullins said: “When I went out I said to myself that I’ve got the fastest horse in the race, my worry was that we’d run twice over two and a half miles from the front, so I wanted to drop out and get him settled.

“He was quite high over the white fences early on and he was just giving them a lot of air, so I just tried to keep him relaxed and then when we’ve turned up the hill I’ve looked up and seen Mahler Mission clear. We’d gone quick and my thought was that we’re going to have to try and catch him at the finish line rather than catch him at the second last. It worked out in the end so it was great.

“We’d gone quick the first mile and bearing in mind it’s a testing three mile six, I had to believe he was coming back to us. I was more worried about Jamie (Codd, on Chemical Energy). He missed the last and that just gave me the advantage. He’s very tough and I know people have said he hasn’t won a lot but he’s been running in Grade One races.

“We schooled him over white fences at home and he was quite high over them. In this big race you want them popping and not expending all that energy, but after the first lap he got lower so it was great.

“He’s shown he stays very well and looking at the white fences early on he was very high but the further he went the better he jumped. He’s a fabulous jumper and he’ll be made for a National.

“I’m not sure anyone has won this race four times! More often than not I’m riding the best horse in the race so it’s just good to get the job done. The Kim Muir is the one I need to tick off though! Jamie (Codd) needs the Foxhunters and I need the Kim Muir so I’m racing him to it!

“I’m riding Mr Incredible on Thursday, he’s a bit quirky and he’s got top weight but if he puts his best foot forward he’s a right chance.”

Willie Mullins said: “John McConnell’s horse (Mahler Mission) was very unlucky, but I saw his horse and rider getting up so that was a good result. I was sitting having a cup of tea at the time and I thought this was over. I couldn’t see him winning until the other horse fell then he got a run going to the last. He was a very fortunate for us on the day but you need a bit of luck.

“The ground must be dead enough but he didn’t pick up the way he can pick up. It nice to have a winner here for Joe and Marie Donnelly. I’m going to get home from here and look at both races (Grand National and Irish Grand National). Normally we would go back to Punchestown with a horse like this but that was a tough race and it might take him a while to get over it. The Irish Grand National and the Grand National might come too soon.”

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