Willie Mullins admitted it has been “one of those years” after watching Burrows Saint secure him a first Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Ireland’s champion trainer had never before tasted success in the Easter Monday showpiece, but Ruby Walsh’s mount was sent off favourite and his backers barely had a moment of doubt as he travelled supremely and moved to lead approaching the second-last fence.
He was challenged by stablemate Isleofhopendreams but, for the second year running, he and Danny Mullins were forced to settle for second best as Burrows Saint prevailed by a length-and-three-quarters.
Acapella Bourgeois and Johnny Burke ensured it was a remarkable one-two-three for Team Mullins at Fairyhouse. Having landed his maiden victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month with Al Boum Photo, the Closutton maestro admits it has been a landmark season.
“It was a tremendous result. It’s just been one of those years where we have done things that we haven’t done before,” he said afterwards.
“It’s tremendous for Ruby and tremendous for (owner) Rich Ricci. We’re delighted to win it for the yard, too. I’m very happy for all the horses, the owners and the riders.”
Mullins admitted to some surprise that Walsh had sided with Burrows Saint, who had previously won at Gowran Park and Limerick and was having his first foray into a handicap over fences on his fifth start over the larger obstacles.
Mullins said: “Obviously he gave him a great feel the two days he won on him. I think that’s his third run in six weeks, so it shows what kind of ability he might have in the future.”