Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins crowned champions

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh were crowned leading trainer and jockey at the Cheltenham Festival for the fifth time in six years.
Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins crowned champions

Mullins’ recent domination of the meeting continued apace with seven wins, three of which were gained on the opening day through Douvan in the Arkle, Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle and Vroum Vroum Mag in the Mares’ Hurdle.

On Wednesday the pair celebrated the victory of Yorkhill in the Neptune, while on Thursday Black Hercules won the JLT, Vautour the Ryanair and Limini the inaugural Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The pair were winless on the final day but finished second in the Gold Cup with Djakadam for the second successive year.

In all it is the 10th time Walsh has been leading rider at the meeting, in which he registered a landmark 50th Festival win - more than any other jockey riding before or since.

Walsh also rode three seconds and two thirds, with Mullins saddling a further seven seconds to advertise his dominance of the week.

The Prestbury Cup was shared as Britain and Ireland were responsible for 14 winners each.

Meanwhile the British Horseracing Authority is planning a full assessment after the deaths of seven horses over the four days of the festival.

Long Dog became the sixth fatality after he broke down in between obstacles in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on the final day of the meeting, while Jonjo O’Neill’s Montdragon was pulled up in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle and later collapsed and died.

Long Dog was the second horse trainer Willie Mullins and owner Rich Ricci lost during the week after Pont Alexandre was injured in a fall in the National Hunt Chase on Tuesday.

The Govaness and Rezorbi also suffered fatal injuries on the opening day of the meeting, while it was confirmed on Thursday morning that No More Heroes had been put down after damaging a tendon in the RSA Chase on Wednesday.

The death of Niceonefrankie after a late fall in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate took the tally to five on Thursday.

Quincy Des Pictons was also injured in that race and taken to a veterinary hospital for further treatment.

Trainer Alan Jones said: “As far as I know he’s comfortable. There’s no negative news anyway.”

Jenny Hall, chief veterinary officer of the BHA, highlighted that four of the fatal injuries, including Long Dog and Montdragon, were not caused by a fall at a fence or hurdle.

She said:“It is notable that four of the fatal injuries incurred this week were not related to a fall over a hurdle or fence. Horses are at risk of serious injury throughout their lives, regardless of the type of equestrian activity they participate in.”

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