Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing RACING

Willie Mullins takes one step closer to history, here’s what the Irish trainer had to say after Ballyburn’s victory in the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle

It was the 98th victory at the Cheltenham Festival for Willie Mullins, and the fourth of the 2024 edition, all four of his winners have been jockeyed by Paul Townend so far.

Everyone watching was wowed by that Ballyburn performance, none more so than the man who watches him day in day out, as Mullins’ immediate reaction was “It’s the first time he’s wowed me, what a performance, to me that was a Champion Hurdle performance”

The novice followed early leader Mercurey from the get go, before putting on the jets coming into the final stretch and gapped the rest of the field.

“With his size, scope, and pedigree, maybe our owners might go chasing with him next year, but certainly with that performance he could go anywhere” continued the trainer.

With Ballyburn going off a 1/2 with the bookmakers, the general public had a vested interest in the horse, but no one would have been more happy than his owner David Manasseh, who takes home part of £75,965.

“I need to breathe” was the opening remark from Manasseh who was overjoyed by his horse’s performance.

“I can’t (put it into words), Jesus, it’s been a long journey. The last five weeks to get him, just to be here. The people that are here at Cheltenham, the legend of racing. And I’m here. And I managed to win at Cheltenham.” Manasseh spoke breathlessly

Townend was a lot more grounded than the rest of his company, “That was a fair fielding” revealed the jockey, “It’s not a big field, we obviously have five of them, but I respect a lot of the horses behind him.”

And even though Townend who has won four races so far at the 2024 Festival, was still a little shocked by the performance ,”It was a bigger performance that I thought he was going to put in to be honest.”

All qutoes courtesy of ITV Racing

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