Danny the champion of the world for Uncle Willie

Danny Mullins (right) won the Irish Arkle aboard Il Etait Temps to secure a Grade One treble on the first day of the Dublin Racing Festival

WHAT more can you say about Willie Mullins?

He came into this year’s Dublin Racing Festival mobhanded as always, but to win all four Grade Ones, the first three all ridden by his nephew Danny, is just another example of his genius.

Yes, he obviously has the best horses and the biggest spending owners, but he still has to do the job and produce his horses at their very best.

Danny was the lucky recipient on Saturday afternoon, remarkably landing a 535/1 Grade One treble.

First up was Dancing City who fought off stablemate and favourite Predators Gold to land the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle.

It was a smart ride by Mullins who kicked rounding the home turn and then again before the final flight to seal the deal.

Dancing City is now a best-priced 12/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival and his trainer doesn’t think the extra distance will be an issue.

The Spring Juvenile Hurdle produced an even more remarkable result for Team Mullins with Kargese leading home a 1-2-3-4 for the yard.

Willie and Danny teamed up 12 months ago to win this prize with Gala Marceau for owner Kenny Alexander and the trio were celebrating once again.

“She did very well,” said a beaming Alexander. “She didn’t settle the first time she ran for me over Christmas, but she settled better today. Roll on the Triumph Hurdle!”

The daughter of Jeu St Eloi is now as short as 4/1 for that race next month, although she is likely to come up against Sir Gino at Prestbury Park.

Marine Nationale was strongly fancied to get a Grade One on the board for ‘The Rest’ versus Mullins in the Goffs Irish Arkle Novice Chase, but he was bitterly disappointing, finishing a well beaten fifth behind Il Etait Temps under that man Danny again.

It’s now back to the drawing board for Barry Connell and Michael O’Sullivan, but Willie confirmed the winner will now go for the Arkle at Cheltenham.

Prior to the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup, Closutton stable jockey Paul Townend hadn’t managed to hit the board, but he knew the big one was coming.

Although not as impressive as in the Savills Chase over Christmas, Galopin Des Champs managed to turn the tables on old rival Fastorslow, who had beaten him the last two times they’d met, running out a comfortable four-and-a-half length winner.

“He was the big bullet and he hit the bullseye,” said Townend. “I was delighted, I couldn’t knock him in anyway.

“For Gold Cup horses we went a bit of a doddle but when I asked him and gave him a squeeze at a fence, he took them on well. I was happy.”

But the day was all about Willie Mullins – four Grade Ones, four wins. Oh yes, and the favourite in all four on Sunday!


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