Willie Mullins top trainer at Cheltenham

al boumphoto (right)
Al Boum Photo (right) has helped Willie Mullins to a seventh title as leading Cheltenham trainer.

Willie Mullins has again been crowned leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival with the four days going ahead against the backdrop of coronavirus concerns.

Mullins saddled seven winners at the Festival, four on the final day on Friday (Saturday AEDT) including Al Boum Photo who took out the Gold Cup.

His great rival Gordon Elliott also won seven races and both had seven seconds, but Mullins claimed the title by six thirds to four.

“I couldn’t have dreamt of being leading trainer on Tuesday evening or Wednesday evening and certainly not Thursday evening. It’s just been a huge day today and a tremendous week,” Mullins said.

Mullins is the most successful trainer in Festival history with 72 winners, four clear of Nicky Henderson on 68.

“People expect us to have winners, but we don’t expect to have winners – we hope to have winners,” he said.

“I think the public and press expect us to have winners and when we don’t it’s a big story, but you’re not supposed to have winners, you have to earn them.

“We didn’t have much luck on Tuesday, but that’s the way it goes. I self-medicated a lot on Tuesday night!”

Paul Townend took the top rider title for the first time after Al Boum Photo’s successful defence of the Gold Cup gave him a fifth winner of the week.

Barry Geraghty also rode five winners, but Townend emerged victorious by virtue of more placings.

In landing the leading rider award, Townend was presented with the Ruby Walsh Trophy by the retired champion.