The Jockey's Journal: Willie Mullins will come back stronger after defeat to Paul Nicholls
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The Jockey's Journal: Willie Mullins will come back stronger after defeat to Paul Nicholls

 

IT was a tight battle at the finish for trainers Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins.

On the final day of the jump season at Sandown, it was Nicholls who clawed back and won the championship, a great achievement for him.

Nicholls has won 10 times in the last 11 seasons, but I still have confidence that Willie Mullins can be a world player.

It may seem fitting that the British Trainer’s Championship was won by an Englishman, but now that Mullins has had a taste for it, I’ve no doubt he’ll be a serious contender again.

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Mullins doesn’t bring the horses over until the Hennessy Gold Cup meeting, so he may start bringing them over earlier on next season.

It’s been around 60 years since there’s been an Irish Champion Trainer here, but I’m backing him to win next year.

When you get to a certain height in your career, you need to set goals to break and new championship records. I think AP McCoy is a model of that.

For Mullins, winning championships in Ireland is a walk in the park; so targeting the British championship again is a good benchmark.

On a sour note, Mullins did pick up a hefty fine on Saturday. He was fined £1,000 for pulling out Cheltenham Festival-winning Vroum Vroum Mag at Sandown.

He did so as he wanted to run her at Punchestown next weekend, as there’s a bigger pot on offer.

It’s definitely something the BHA have to consider, if trainers are pulling out of races here to race in Ireland because the prize money is better there.

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Sandown was also a very emotional day for Richard Johnson, the new Champion Jockey. After coming second to AP for so long, it was good to see him take the crown. As AP said on the day, the prize went to the right man.