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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Gary Carson

Willie Mullins lands 113,999/1 Easter Sunday eight-timer ahead of Irish Grand National

Willie Mullins recorded an incredible 113,999/1 eight-timer between two meetings on Easter Sunday.

The Closutton maestro had an afternoon to remember as the remarkable feat saw him break his own record for number of winners in a National Hunt season.

The all-conquering champion trainer’s previous best tally of 212 was achieved in the 2017/18 campaign and having reached the double century at the end of March, it has been obvious for some time that he would go past that number before the current season ends at Punchestown later this month.

READ MORE: Irish Grand National tips: Paul Townend on his six rides on Easter Monday at Fairyhouse

Mullins began Easter Sunday with 205 winners under his belt and several chances across the two Irish meetings at Cork and Fairyhouse.

The Closutton handler ended up saddling a treble at Cork, with Bachasson’s (6-4) front-running success in the Grade Three feature preceded by victories for the Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned pair of Mister Policeman (evens) and Aione (4-1), both ridden by Michael O’Sullivan.

At Fairyhouse he claimed five winners, with Ashroe Diamond (2-1) and Flame Bearer (17-2) striking Grade One gold, Nick Rockett (9-1) and Hercule Du Seuil (7-1) both winning Grade Twos and Cheltenham Festival runner-up Dinoblue (evens) going one better as one of three winners on the afternoon for jockey Mark Walsh.

Nick Rockett continued his steep upward trajectory with victory in the Paddy Kehoe Suspended Ceilings Novice Hurdle under the trainer’s nephew Danny Mullins.

Sean O’Keefe onboard Flame Bearer celebrates winning (©INPHO/Tom Maher)

Previously successful in a Thurles bumper and a maiden hurdle at Naas, the six-year-old proved up to the rise in class as he pulled 15 lengths clear of his rivals.

Mullins’ assistant, David Casey, said: “We thought he had improved a bit from Naas, we weren’t sure going there what to expect as he was a horse that was always going to improve with time.

“Danny said he improved a lot more than he thought he would and he put up a very good performance. He travelled super and jumped great.

“We always had him down as a horse for the future for jumping fences. I think the best is ahead of him.”

Hercule Du Seuil raced keenly throughout the Cafe En Seine Novice Hurdle, but it is testament to his latent ability that he still had enough in the tank at the finish to see off his stablemate and 6-5 favourite Hunters Yarn by a length and three-quarters in the hands of Walsh.

Casey added: “It was a good performance. I thought he’d gone fast enough and it looked like they might swallow him up turning in, but Mark said he got a good breather into him between the fourth and third last and he toughed it out well.

“He wants nicer ground and we gave him a break over the winter. He’s not in any of the graded races at Punchestown and the plan is to go chasing.”

Walsh, who had earlier steered Tony Martin’s Golf Marin to a maiden hurdle win, completed his treble for owner JP McManus aboard Dinoblue in the BoyleSports Novice Handicap Chase.

Second in her previous three races, including in the Grand Annual last month, the six-year-old had a fight on her hands when the final fence fall of Whiskeywealth left her in the clear.

“Mark said he thought he was probably a fraction lucky, but either way, even if she had been second I thought it was a very good performance coming back from a tough run in Cheltenham,” said Casey.

“She jumped super and you need a bit of luck. There is an open handicap at Punchestown and she’ll get an entry in it, we’ll see what happens.”

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