Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Racing Cheltenham

Ulster hero Vic earns Willie Mullins a place in history

By Ron McKnight

Ulster-owned Killultagh Vic won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle to help Willie Mullins make history by training a record eight winners at a Cheltenham Festival.

The six-year-old - owned by a syndicate headed by Rose Boyd from Crossgar, who also part owns the great Hurricane Fly - was all out to see off Noble Endeavour and grab the verdict in a terrific tussle up the hill.

Killultagh Vic (7-1) - bred at Rademon Estate, Co Down by Rose's husband Frank Boyd - stuck on resolutely to score by a head, with another Mullins runner, Roi Des Francs, the 3-1 favourite, four and a half lengths away in third. Kauto Grand Mogul was fourth at 33-1.

Mullins said: "I thought Luke (Dempsey) gave him a great ride, he was beaten and then he pulled it out of the fire.

"It's his first ride for me, as far as I can remember. He was available last week so I booked him.

"We thought he was working well at home, but he's not a great jumper.

"Luke got him settled and then looked for some nicer ground, when he got some light at his hurdles he was good.

"Luke has been riding out of his skin recently and we were lucky to get him, a good jockey is a big plus in this race.

"I used to ride with his father, Philip, so I'm delighted to put him up on a winner."

Of his record achievement, he said: "It's been fantastic.

"It's so hard and competitive, but we've had such a fantastic spring. We've had no sickness with any of the horses and we've had a great preparation."

Dempsey said: "For the owners and Willie to put me up, it's brilliant. The last two weeks have been unbelievable, it's a great day."

Mullins came in to the final day one behind Nicky Henderson's record of seven winners, set in 2012.

He drew level in the County Hurdle courtesy of Wicklow Brave - ridden by Paul Townend - before 18-year-old Dempsey earned him the record in his own right.

Top jockey at the Festival was Ruby Walsh with four winners, all for Mullins. Ulster legend Tony McCoy had one.

Other results with a local flavour saw Road To Riches - winner of the Down Royal Festival feature, the Champion Chase, in November - finish third in the Gold Cup, while Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney's Carsonstown Boy - ridden by Noel McParlan - was fourth in the Foxhunters.

Peace And Co gave trainer Henderson his sixth success in the JCB Triumph Hurdle after a battle with stable companions Top Notch and Hargam.

Peace And Co powered up the hill to land the spoils by a neck from Top Notch, with Hargam and McCoy in third.

Henderson said: "They had to come here and do that, but it's a bit of bad luck that you have to go beating up your own troops."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph