Despite the 2024 Cheltenham Festival still being some way off, preparations at the powerhouse yard of Willie Mullins are well underway ahead of the new National Hunt season.
The campaign doesn’t really come into the racing public consciousness until November with the Charlie Hall Steeplechase at Wetherby on the 4th, a race won last year by Cheltenham Gold Cup second Bravemansgame.
But the eyes are never far away from the Prestbury Park showpiece meeting next March, where tour de force Mullins is set to have another big say in proceedings.
The County Carlow trainer bagged a whopping €7,299,665 in prize money across the 2022/23 season to be by far and away the leading jumps trainer in Britain and Ireland, most notably training Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs.
Mullins’ son Patrick, one of the top amateur riders in the sport, is also an assistant trainer at the Closutton yard and has named four horses he says he is looking forward to seeing take the track this season trained by his father, in what could be an early hint at what’s to come for some of the perhaps lesser known lights of the Mullins yard.
Speaking to Racing TV, Patrick Mullins said: “All of ours are only on the gallops at the moment”.
On his top four horses, Mullins’ commented:
“I think Ile Atlantique is much better than his bare form, he wants softer ground and a further trip.
“Ballyburn is a horse I can’t wait to see, probably over slightly further as well. He’s a horse that at home does enough but in a race, when it comes to finishing, give him a flick or two he really hits overdrive and has huge ability.
“Tullyhill gave A Dream To Share most to think about (A Dream To Share beat Tullyhill in a Punchestown bumper last April) and Fact Or file, he could possibly go over further as well.
“They are four that I am very much looking forward to seeing over the jumps.”