An Irish trainer wins British jumps title for first time in 70 years as champions crowned

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  • Willie Mullins became the first Irish trainer to land the British championship in 70 years in a title race that went right to the season finale at Sandown on Saturday (27 April).

    Vincent O’Brien was the last person to achieve such a feat in 1954, before the newly crowned champion was born.

    Mr Mullins’ 28 British wins this season included the Champion Hurdle, Gold Cup and Grand National. His total British prize money haul of £3,326,135 put him £344,716 ahead of nearest challenger Dan Skelton, who amassed £2,981,419 from 120 winners and 387 placed horses in 2023/24 (report, 2 May).

    During the closing stages of this year’s championship, Mr Mullins said: “Vincent was a legend of legends in racing and to have your name up against him is something you could never dream of, it’s just extraordinary.

    “When you start off training, you maybe dream of being Irish champion trainer but never British champion trainer.

    “In the last few years, we began to think it was achievable and we came very close in 2016 when I think it went down to the last three races. It’s an old saying that you have got to lose a final before you win a final – it makes you appreciate it more.”

    A new name is etched onto the champion jockey trophy; Harry Cobden secured the title in a good-natured clash with Sean Bowen, with 164 wins to Sean’s 157.
    “There is no tension between us and it has been real good fun and something I have really enjoyed. We have both ridden more winners than ever before and had a lot of support,” said Harry, whose season has paid for “a few new toys on the farm and another barn for the cattle”.

    Patrick Wadge, who is attached to Lucinda Russell’s yard and had an equestrian background before pursuing a career in racing, won the champion conditional title.

    “Mum and Dad both taught and I had a great upbringing riding – I always think you can link the two together with eventing and racing, they’re very similar,” said Patrick, also crediting the team around him for his success.

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