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'There are a few miles on the clock yet' - Danny Mullins passes 500-winner landmark in Ireland

Danny Mullins.Down RoyalPhoto: Patrick McCann/Racing Post04.02.2021
Danny Mullins: reached 500 winners on TuesdayCredit: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Danny Mullins reached and surpassed the 500-winner mark across both codes in Ireland after teaming up with Gavin Cromwell and James Dullea to land a double.

Mullins, who rode his first winner on My Girl Sophie on the Flat at Leopardstown in May 2008 for Jim Bolger, reached the landmark when he steered the Cromwell-trained Leish Oscars Son to victory with a typically power-packed ride in the 2m5½f beginners' chase.

Despite meeting plenty of traffic and getting slightly outpaced coming to two out, Mullins always cut a confident figure on the seven-year-old, and a flying leap at the last proved crucial as he galloped to a two-and-a-quarter-length victory over Wee Charlie.

Reflecting on reaching the 500-winner landmark domestically, Mullins said: "It's definitely special. It’s a nice milestone to achieve, but I don’t think much of that is down to me. It’s the people I’m riding for, the great owners, trainers and stable staff. I think there are still a few miles on the clock yet, but  all I do is turn up on the day and do five minutes work, so it’s a lot of people behind the scenes that have made this happen."

Mullins, who has won 23 Grade 1 contests over jumps, began his assault on 1,000 winners 30 minutes later when he partnered 5-2 shot Kings Halo to success in the 2m5½f handicap chase for Dullea. The rider was at his brilliant best given the winner did not travel with a great deal of fluency, but Mullins manoeuvred him into a challenging position at the penultimate fence before jumping the last in unison with Rochestown and Harry Swan.

Kings Halo found an extra gear on landing to win by a length and a quarter, enhancing Dullea's decent record at the track.

Owens off mark

Conor Owens rode his first winner at the 54th time of asking when guiding the Philip Rothwell-trained Blossom De Mai to victory in the 2m5f handicap hurdle.

The 26-year-old gave his mount a patient ride, holding her up in last position for much of the race before the six-year-old unleashed a potent turn of foot at the furlong pole to run out a cosy winner from Magic Conqueror, springing a 22-1 surprise.

Owens said: "I'm probably getting on a bit to be riding my first winner, but I only started race-riding about a year ago when I joined Philip. I was with Willie Mullins for a couple of years but, funnily enough, I've only been riding horses for about three years, so I'm definitely a late bloomer."

It was a poignant victory for the winning connections, as Rothwell explained: "It's a special winner as it's Conor's first winner and Felix Byrne, who was a huge part of the ownership group, passed away a few months ago and this is the first time the mare has run since. 

"Felix absolutely loved racing and it was his dream to have a winner. His partner Veronica is still involved and I'm so pleased for her. Felix would have loved this and I would have loved to have given him a winner, but it wasn't to be so I hope Veronica gets a great kick out of it."


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Published on 28 November 2023inReports

Last updated 19:09, 28 November 2023

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