Punchestown charge means Willie Mullins retains Irish jumps championship

Shock departure of Samcro ends title hopes for Gordon Elliott

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Willie Mullins will officially be crowned Ireland’s champion jumps trainer trainer for a 12th time on Saturday after his placed finishers in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle gave him an unassailable lead in this year’s thrilling title race.

Mullins started the Festival 521,413 euro behind his big rival Gordon Elliott, but trebles on Tuesday and Thursday and a remarkable six-timer on Wednesday saw him head into the penultimate day with a lead of 424,148 euro.

That significant lead further increased to 485,148 euro after Kemboy justified 11-4 favouritism in the EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase and Elliott needed the previously unbeaten Samcro to prove his worth in the Champion Hurdle to keep his diminishing hopes of claiming a first title alive.

However, Samcro departed three flights from home and while Mullins did not manage to claim victory – with Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae coming home in front – he saddled the second, third and fourth home in Wicklow Brave, Bleu Berry and Coquin Mans respectively, to move into a 550,648 euro advantage that meant he would retain his crown.

Punchestown charge means Willie Mullins retains Irish jumps championship
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