Willie Mullins and Paul Townend take titles after season shutdown

Two Cork riders won jockeys' championships.
Willie Mullins and Paul Townend take titles after season shutdown
Willie Mullins and Paul Townend also captured the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month.

We’ve been denied what would have been another thrilling finish to the National Hunt season and, in particular, the destination of the trainers’ championship, but the cancellation of the remainder of the season has resulted in Willie Mullins being crowned champion for the 13th consecutive time, and 14th in total.

With a tally of 165 winners from 656 runners a total prizemoney earned of €3,930,118, Mullins finished a little shy of €110,000 ahead of Gordon Elliott.

The jockeys’ title was more or less done and dusted, with Paul Townend having won 104 races and thus holding an advantage of 35 over Davy Russell, who was eight ahead of third-placed Rachael Blackmore. This win gives Midleton jockey Townend, who took over as number one rider in the Mullins stable after the retirement of Ruby Walsh last May, back-to-back titles and a third in all, having being crowned champion for the first time in 2010/11.

To complete another brilliant season for the Closutton team, Patrick Mullins took the amateur title for the 12th time, his 40 wins from 130 rides leaving him clear of Jamie Codd in second and Tom Hamilton in third.

Doneraile jockey Darragh O’Keeffe had a remarkable summer and early autumn campaign and amassed a sizable lead over his rivals in the race for the conditional jockeys’ championship. Kevin Brouder gave chase, also having had a fine season, but O’Keeffe prevailed with a total of 45 winners, five more then Brouder.

Lisa O’Neill was once again crowned leading lady rider, while Gigginstown House secured the leading owners’ title for the sixth consecutive year and eighth time in all.

HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh said: “While it is unfortunate it was not possible to complete another thrilling season with the big festivals at Fairyhouse and Punchestown, since the season began last May we have been treated to some incredible memories and high-class performances.

“All of our champions are worthy winners and their achievements in the National Hunt season gone by will be officially recognised at the appropriate time and place in the future.”

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