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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Brilliant four-timer for Mullins leads a glittering haul of six

Men of the moment: Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins after Let's Dance brought up their four-timer in the mares' novices' hurdle
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An extraordinary third day for Ireland, and for Willie Mullins in particular, left the green army assured of a draw at worst in the BetBright Prestbury Cup and needing only one more win to secure bragging rights.

On what was billed 'St Patrick's Thursday' at the festival – St Patrick's Day being marked traditionally on the Thursday regardless of when March 17 falls – Irish-trained horses won the first six races to boost their weekly haul to 14, a greenwash being prevented only in the British-dominated Kim Muir.

Ireland's record festival haul is 15, set last year, one of those winners coming when Any Currency was subsequently disqualified.

Mullins had a festival four-timer in 2015, and on that occasion all four were Grade 1s. But Thursday's three Grade 1s and a Grade 2 was possibly even sweeter after a blank first two days, especially as Nichols Canyon's Stayers' Hurdle strike was unexpected.

"That must be one of our best-ever days," Mullins reflected after Let's Dance had brought up his 179-1 four-timer. 

"The first winner was relief, and the second one probably a bit more relief. Then Nichols Canyon was pure joy because I didn't expect him to win, and to have a winner against the grain is much more fun and more enjoyable. I suppose a fourth win is delirium."

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Nichols Canyon was pure joy because I didn't expect him to win
E.W. Terms
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