Legendary horse trainer passes

By Alannah Hill

Legendary race horse trainer Paddy Mullins passed away on 28 October aged 91; however the legacy he has left behind assures him a place in history as one of the training greats.

Mullin’s greatest success came from his famous mare Dawn Run, the only horse to ever win both the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The mare won the Champion Hurdle in 1984 and two years later went on to win the Gold Cup after an epic battle with Forgive ‘n’ Forget and Wayward Lad. 

Dawn Run was also triumphant in the Irish and French Champion Hurdles. She was killed in the summer of 1986, just months after her Gold Cup victory, following a fall at Auteuil under a French jockey, Michel Chirol.

Patrick Mullins was born on 28 January 1919. His family were farmers in Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny and his father was a part-time trainer.

The family was heavily involved in the world of hunting and point-to-points. Paddy began training pointers before taking over his father’s training licence at the age of 34.

His first winner as a trainer was Flash Parade, at Punchestown, on April 29 1953. His first big winner on the Flat came with Height O’ Fashion in the Irish Cesarewitch in 1962.

Paddy Mullins was a risk taker, a man of principles who was not afraid to stand his ground.

In 1963 he instructed an important owner, Jack Donohue, to take his horses out of training with him after he felt he had been unfairly criticised.

Turning away horses at this early stage of his career was risky however it enabled Mullins to build up the reputation he is now synonymous for. Mullins and Jack Donohue later reconciled.

1967 saw Mullins win the Irish Grand National with Vulpine. He won the race again the following year with Herring Gull and later won the Irish National with both Dim Wit (1972) and Luska (1981).

Mullins’s career on the Flat and over the jumps spanned 52 years. He was champion National Hunt trainer in Ireland on 10 different occasions and in 1984 became only the third Irish trainer to send out 100 winners.

Among his big race victories were two successive Ladbroke Hurdles at Leopardstown (in 1989 and 1990) with Redundant Pal.

Mullins showed that he still had the magic touch when he won the Irish Oaks in 2003 with Vintage Tipple ridden by Frankie Dettori.

Mullins retired in 2005 and continued his legacy by passing his training license over to his son Tom.

Paddy Mullins is survived by his wife Maureen and their five children, all of whom have made names for themselves in the Irish horse industry.

His sons Willie, Tony and Tom and their daughter Sandra are trainers, while another son, George, runs a horse transport business.

Three of Mullins grandchildren, Patrick, Emmet and Danny have also made names for themselves as successful jockeys.

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