William “Willie” Peter Mullins was born in Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny in September 1956.
It’s Not that I am trying to make the master trainer feel old, but back then little did people know that he possessed a special talent.
Since then he has rose through the training ranks, first being assistant to his father Paddy who trained the great mare Dawn Run. Then he moved to work for Jim Bolger, also as an assistant trainer. As we all know Bolger is famous for bringing through not just top-class racehorses, but also helping to develop the careers of AP McCoy, Aidan O’Brien and Paul Carberry.
Since moving to train his own string in Closutton, Co Carlow in 1988, Willie has enjoyed tremendous success with some of the greats of the Irish turf, such as world record breaker Hurricane Fly, Four-time Irish Hennessey winner Florida Pearl and the brilliant mare Quevega.
Some people will say that “He’s guaranteed to win a lot of big races with the talent at his disposal.” That is not true however as all those horses I mentioned just a moment ago needed serious training.
It’s hard enough to keep jumps horses sound, let alone keeping Hurricane Fly at his peak level of performance for six years and winning twenty-two Grade 1 races.
Perhaps his greatest training performance could be if Faugheen was to regain the Champion Hurdle crown after an injury plagued two years, and a puzzling run at Leopardstown over Christmas in which he was pulled up.
I feel that too many people have written him off. If every time Rory Mcilroy had a bad round of Golf would you be writing his career off? A Faugheen win would lift the roof of Cheltenham that’s for sure!
Last May he retained the Irish jumps trainer championship after a titanic battle with Gordon Elliott. Ireland and indeed us racing fans from this part of the world should feel privileged that one of best trainer’s in the world is based in Ireland.
We wish Willie and all the team at Closutton all the best of luck for 2018.