Despite a hugely successful training career, two big races had eluded Willie Mullins. In the space of just over a month, he has done the double and claimed both. This started with Al Boum Photo winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the festival last month. And his second prize came in April, with the capture of the Irish Grand National.
Burrows Saint was the horse to claim that prize for Mullins, but instead of simply winning the race he did it in style. Burrows Saint led home a 1-2-3 in the race for the trainer from Closutton. The perfect way to finally grab the prize.
After being well backed ahead of the event, Burrows Saint was sent off as the 6/1 favourite for the race. He was partnered by the stable’s number one jockey, Ruby Walsh. Mullins may not have won the race before but this was the third win for Walsh.
Mullins saddled seven runners in the race as he aimed to break his duck. From those seven, he ended up with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th as he dominated proceedings at Fairyhouse.
Of all the runners that Mullins put in the race, it may have been a surprise to some to see Ruby Walsh choosing one with such a little amount of chasing experience. The Irish National was just his sixth run over fences including two runs in France. However, someone clearly fancied the horse due to his position in the betting and he clearly showed why.
— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) April 22, 2019
With such an inexperienced horse winning the race, the big question is where does he go next? We may see him this week at the Punchestown Festival where he has an entry into the Novice Handicap Chase. If he runs again, he will undoubtedly go off as favourite.
However, it is next year when the big options open up for Burrows Saint. The most obvious one would be the Grand National at Aintree in 2020. He made a couple of mistakes in the Irish National, however, he is still relatively inexperienced. He has nearly 12 months to gain some more experience and put those mistakes to bed, which would certainly help him in the Aintree showpiece.
However, he will still only be 7-years-old so the chances are that Mullins may point him at the Cheltenham Festival 2020 instead.
After winning such a big race with so little experience, he is certainly an interesting horse for the 2019/20 season, and that season could well end up with a trip across the Irish Sea to either Cheltenham or Aintree for the Grand National.