Patrick Mullins: I want to keep riding until I'm 40 just like Willie did
Willie Mullins rode until he was 40 and son Patrick wants to do likewise. The 30-year-old was officially crowned Ireland’s champion amateur for a 12th time last week, surpassing Ted Walsh’s record of 11 titles, and wants to stay in the saddle for another decade.
Patrick Mullins rode 40 winners in Ireland this season, including a pair of Grade 1s on Faugheen and Sharjah, but hopes his latest amateur title will not be his last.
Ireland's all-time leading amateur said: "It was nice to beat Ted’s record of 11 but I will never take the title for granted. Jamie Codd beat me by one a couple of years ago, so I know how horrible it feels when that happens. Willie rode until he was 40 and I want to do to the same. That means there are ten more years to come. I would like to think there are a few years left in me!"
A famous victory on Faugheen at Limerick was followed three days later by another Grade 1 win on Sharjah at Leopardstown, which meant the 2019-2020 campaign was a hugely successful one for Mullins, but it could have been even better.
The jockey was a nostril away from winning the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on Melon. He was also runner-up in the Champion Hurdle on Sharjah, while Appreciate It took second behind stablemate Ferny Hollow in the Champion Bumper.
Reflecting on his near-misses at the festival, Mullins said: "Melon was brilliant. He was meeting every fence spot on. He winged the last ditch and must have taken two lengths out of everything. I knew I was beaten passing the line, though. You always know. It’s funny, you cannot see exactly where the post is, but you always seem to know. It was only watching the slow-motion replay that I realised we had actually got to the front.
"I don’t think stepping up in trip would be any problem to Melon. He’s a big, long-striding horse who jumps and settles well so maybe the Gold Cup might be the race for him. I wouldn’t mind a spin on him in a Gold Cup. You’d imagine the Ryanair would be made for him too."
The champion amateur added: "When I pulled Sharjah out from behind Supasundae, there was a stride or two where I thought ‘here we go, we might win this [Champion Hurdle]'. It was very brief, though. The mare [Epatante] who beat us this year is a bit special.
"Appreciate It is hugely exciting. I know he was beaten in the bumper, but Ferny Hollow is a very good horse. I don’t think he lost anything in defeat. He settles great so he will be able to step up in trip."
Asked what else he wants to achieve as an amateur, Mullins replied: "I’d love to win the GPT [Connacht Hotel Handicap] at Galway, the Kim Muir, the Foxhunters and it would be nice to win a Cheltenham race over jumps against the pros."
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