“Never break a stick off to beat yourself” is the mind-set of trainer Tom Mullins who insists “there will always be other people criticizing you, so no need to be hard on yourself, just do the best you can”.
Mullins hails from the picturesque Goresbridge in County Kilkenny and is son of the legendary trainer Paddy Mullins, brother to the successful trainers Willie and Tony Mullins and he is also the father of gifted Grand National Winning jockey David Mullins.
Mullins obtained his training license in February 2004, and he trains in the Doninga Stables subsequently the same yard his father Paddy plied his trade from, winning several of the biggest contests in Europe both on the flat and over jumps.
Tom is also prospering, winning 10 Grade 1 contests “with small money horses” adds Mullins, but his most distinguished achievement as a trainer has been his saddling of Alderwood to win at consecutive Cheltenham Festivals, namely in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle in 2012 and in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase in 2013. The likes of Asian Maze were an early star for the stable and the likes of Court Leader, Bob Lingo and Some Article were other noteworthy winners.
Last year Mullins had an outstanding season, finishing so high up the prize money list with only a small string of horse, which is an achievement in its own right and he is endeavouring to go even better this campaign, “I’m most looking forward to seeing Tara Dylan over hurdles who ran well in Thurles first time, also I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can go with Top O the Ra” adds Mullins.
Unquestionably Horse racing Ireland try their upmost best to improve the sport, but Mullins insists “More prize money would be good. And more owners are badly needed”.
We couldn’t let this trainer in the know go without giving us a horse that might be under the radar to which he answers, “The horse that might be under the radar could be Rathvinden, from the Willie Mullins yard”.
Being a horse racing trainer is evidently more than your average nine to five job so how does a busy race horse trainer relax away from racing? “Golf when possible and watching the TV, Oh, I do have the odd pint or two when I get the opportunity” jokes Mullins.