Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 20 November 2014

Training legend Mullins dies

Dawn Run (far side, no. 14) en route to giving Paddy Mullins a Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph
Dawn Run (far side, no. 14) en route to giving Paddy Mullins a Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph

Legendary trainer Paddy Mullins has died, aged 91.

Mullins, who enjoyed a career spanning 52 years, passed away peacefully at 7am on Thursday morning. The father of current trainers Tom, Willie and Tony Mullins, he enjoyed huge success on the Flat and over jumps, tasting Classic glory with Vintage Tipple in the 2003 Irish Oaks.

He also saddled Hurry Harriet to win the 1973 Champion Stakes at Newmarket, but is, perhaps, best remembered for his exploits with the great mare Dawn Run, who remains the only horse to have won the Champion Hurdle (1984) and the Gold Cup (1986) at the Cheltenham Festival.

Tony Mullins, who was a regular partner for Dawn Run in his riding days, said: "Everyone knows he was a great trainer, but he was an even greater family man. He was certainly the greatest family man I ever knew and we all stayed around him and trained within five miles of home.

"The family has always been very unified and he kept it that way all his life. He taught us all we know - whatever we know. It was a little tough the last couple of days but up until then he had a very good and healthy life.

"It's only seven years since he trained a Classic winner but he always maintained his greatest achievement was training Hurry Harriet to win the 1973 Champion Stakes. Vintage Tipple and Dawn Run were two great achievements, but I think Hurry Harriet gave him the biggest thrill of his life."

Mullins is also survived by wife Maureen, whom he married in 1954, daughter Sandra McCarthy, who is also a trainer, and son George, who owns a horse transport business.

George Mullins said: "He was a real family man and always looked after everybody. He did everything he could to provide the best for us all.

"He was very proud to win the Champion Stakes but I think maybe his proudest moment was when my mother rode a winner on her one and only ride. It was at Gowran Park which was his local racecourse and he really enjoyed that.

"He was 10 times champion trainer and had a number of big achievements. He had a great life and was in very good health up until the last three months and he died very peacefully."

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