Perennial Irish National Hunt Trainer since 2007/08 and the most successful trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival, Willie Mullins needs little or no introduction to anyone with more than a passing interest in horse racing. The son of Paddy Mullins, trainer of the legendary Dawn Run, Willie Mullins began training in his own right in 1988 and saddled his first Cheltenham Festival winner, Tourist Attraction, in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 1995.
In just over two-and-a-half decades since, Mullins has not only won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle another six times, to become the leading trainer in the history of that race, but has also won the leading trainer award at the Cheltenham Festival eight times. Mullins' name has also become synonymous with the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, which he has won eleven times, and the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle, which he was won nine times, including six in a row with the incomparable Quevega between 2009 and 2014.
All told, Mullins has saddled 78 winners at the Cheltenham Festival but, despite winning the Champion Hurdle four times and the Stayers' Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup twice apiece, he has yet to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase. However, it was not until 2019 that Mullins saddled his first Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Al Boum Photo, who duly defended his title in 2020, so hope springs eternal for the Closutton trainer.