Willie Mullins Asserts Dominance with Seven Grade 1 Victories at Dublin Racing Festival


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Willie Mullins’ complete dominance of the Dublin Festival was solidified by State Man’s victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle, securing wins in all of the meeting’s Grade One races. The favorite, living up to his 2-5 odds, replicated his 2023 success, finishing more than five lengths ahead of Bob Olinger.

State Man will challenge Constitution Hill in the upcoming Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Mullins’ remarkable weekend included victories by Ballyburn, El Fabiolo, and Fact To File, resulting in a clean sweep of all eight Grade Ones and setting the stage for a formidable presence at the Cheltenham Festival.

It was also a memorable Saturday for Willie Mullins. Paul Townend guided Galopin Des Champs to victory in the Irish Gold Cup, while Danny Mullins, the trainer’s nephew, secured three earlier Grade One triumphs. Among these wins was Il Etait Temps’ success in the Irish Arkle, showcasing the Mullins stable’s prowess over the weekend.

State Man and His Performance

Since stumbling in his first game for Willie Mullins at this venue in December 2021, State Man has emerged as a dominant force in the Irish division, securing victories in nine out of his next ten races.

His only defeat during this stretch was at the hands of Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill, who proved formidable in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last season—despite Constitution Hill’s status as a favorite for Cheltenham, State Man’s successful defense of the Irish Champion Hurdle, marked by another skilled ride from Townend, left Mullins happy with his horse’s performance at Leopardstown.

We have our chance, State Man is out and racing and is going to go there in tip-top order. It’s all to play for.

Willie Mullins, Irish racehorse trainer and former jockey

Impressive Acts by El Fabiolo and Ballyburn

El Fabiolo displayed impressive form ahead of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, winning by a notable margin in the Dublin Chase. As a solid favorite, El Fabiolo aims for a third consecutive victory for trainer Willie Mullins at Cheltenham.

Jockey Townend secured another win on Ballyburn in the Novice Hurdle, finishing seven lengths ahead of Slade Steel. In the Novice Chase, Fact to File, ridden by Mark Walsh, claimed victory after Gaelic Warrior unseated Townend. Despite Gaelic Warrior’s setback, Fact to File secured a strong win.

Earlier in the week, the Closutton handler hinted at the potential of Gaelic Warrior stepping back in trip for a thrilling showdown with Marine Nationale in Saturday’s Irish Arkle. However, the horse is now set to compete over the longer distance of two miles and five and a half furlongs.

Mullins’s Plans and his Career Graph

Mullins will take the next few weeks to consider if a shift in tactics might be necessary next month, but he maintains a realistic perspective on the challenge for State Man. He remarked, “I doubt you’d be able to lock up Constitution Hill [by sending several opponents out to stop him]; as soon as he got one bit of daylight, he’d be gone, and that wouldn’t be fair anyhow.”

At the age of 67, Mullins’s career trajectory continues relentlessly upward, and his overall dominance seems far from reaching its peak, with the sport’s most influential owners eagerly seeking his services. “It’s extraordinary; everything has come together. We have tremendous owners that invest in Irish racing, and they love it,” Mullins expressed after State Man’s success. It’s tremendous to have people like that bringing in money from abroad to put into Irish racing. We’re the beneficiaries, and we’re very lucky.”

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