Willie Mullins first ever winner at Cheltenham Festival in 1995 gives his take on this years festival

Willie Mullins first ever winner at Cheltenham Festival in 1995 gives his take on this years festival

WILLIE MULLINS is one of Ireland's most recognised horse trainers with numerous winners at various festivals over the years

From Douvan to Hurricane Fly, Vautour, and many others, he has a legacy like few others in the world of horse racing. Mullins currently holds the record for most wins, 78, as a trainer at Cheltenham Festival.

His very first win came in the 1995 Supreme Novices' Hurdle, where Mark Dwyer, who was the jockey that gave Willie Mullins his first ever win at the Cheltenham Festival, when riding 25/1 shot Tourist Attraction to victory.

Speaking about the win at the time Dwyer gave an insight of the day to MyBettingSites.

"Willie didn't say much before the race, even after it. That's how he is. I was waiting for instruction in the ring beforehand, but he just turned and said, you know what you're doing.", he said

"It's great to know that I was able to give Willie his first Cheltenham winner - he's a great man."

"When going to places like Cheltenham, you get excited on the drive up, but then you're focused."

"Riding a 25/1 shot at the festival [Tourist Attraction], you don't go into the race thinking you'll win, but you always hope that it'll be your year."

Mullins holds the record at 78 and his first winning jockey feels that Mullins winning record is set to continue at this year's Cheltenham Festival.

"Willie has a bunch of incredible horses running next week and most are single odds.

"It's going to be exciting to watch. After a couple of years of disruptions and uncertainty [in relation to covid], things seem to be on the up and I expect Willie will add to his outstanding Cheltenham record."

Plenty of talk has been made of Shishkin being the horse of the Festival this year by pundits like Ruby Walsh, but Dwyer feels that Facile Vega will take that crown

"I think Facile Vega wins the Champion Bumper on Wednesday. That's my horse for the Festival."

If putting in a similar performance to the one last time out at Leopardstown, he's going to be hard to beat.

"A couple of others I like are Galopin Des Champs, who has that battle with Bob Ollinger in the Turners Novices Chase and of course Allaho in the Ryanair Chase.

If he runs anywhere near the standard he did last year which saw him win by about 12 lengths I think, then no one catches him."

Speaking on famous horses and wins, Dwyer felt his Coral Cup win in '96 on riding Trainglot was his standout and not his maiden winner in 1995

"Of course, winning the Gold Cup on two occasions, as well as a Champion Hurdle is great, but I have to say, my favourite looking back was the Coral Cup win in '96, '' he said.

Don't get me wrong, I loved all nine wins, especially the first Gold Cup on Forgive 'n' Forget for Jimmy Fitzgerald, who were both instrumental in my career, but the standout out for me was riding Train Got to victory.

"It was my last Cheltenham winner, but also, one of Jimmy's last too and we had a great 10 or so years working together. I'd say our relationship got even better after I retired.