Patrick Mullins sets new amateur record with victory at Sligo

Rider overtakes Ted Walsh’s long-held best

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Patrick Mullins became the winning-most amateur rider of all time as he overtook the record of 545 winners set by Ted Walsh with victory aboard Queens Boulevard in the Blind Tiger Flat race at Sligo.

Mullins had drawn level with a winner on Saturday, and is now out on his own on 546 career triumphs following the success of the 4-7 favourite, appropriately trained by the rider’s father, Willie.

Never far from the pace, Mullins was always cruising on the five-year-old debutant and looked set to go well clear when pressing the button soon after entering the straight.

In the end it was a shade closer than expected, but the result was never in doubt, with half a length the winning margin over Just A Boy.

Mullins, 28, said: “That’s fantastic and it’s something quite cool.

“Obviously I couldn’t have done it without standing on what my parents have built in Closutton and on what my grandparents built in Duninga before that.

“I’m in a very privileged position and get a lot of opportunities. It’s good to be able to make the most of them.

“I’m riding for Willie Mullins, so that makes the job a lot easier.”

He went on: “It’s something I was told about a few years ago when I got the record in a calendar year and it’s something I’ve been aiming for.

“It would be nice to get to a thousand. It’s taken me 12 years to get this far so if I rode till I was 40 – my father did that – I might do it.

“I see Derek (O’Connor) with a thousand point-to-point winners, so that’s probably the next aim, but that’s a long way off.”

He added of the winner: “I thought she might win easier. I thought she maybe didn’t handle the track and the ground. I think she’ll come on a lot from it and I think she’s better than the bare result.

“She battled all the way to the line, but she was kind of leaning off the bends and I felt she maybe didn’t let herself down on the ground.

“It’s quite quick out there. Sligo used to be on the slow side, but now that they’ve put the drainage in it’s quick like all the other tracks. I think with a bit more juice she’d probably let herself down a bit more.”

Mullins has long been a potent force in bumpers, but has also shown himself to be equally adept over obstacles, winning his share of high-profile races – and on big names.

They include Grade Ones on the mighty Douvan, Un De Sceaux, Wicklow Brave and Bacardys, while he was also in the saddle when Faugheen won his first bumper at Punchestown in May, 2013, beating Josses Hill by 22 lengths.

His first Grade One win came through Cousin Vinny in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2008.

Patrick Mullins sets new amateur record with victory at Sligo
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