Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle
Grade 1, Punchestown 18:35
€125,000 guaranteed,
4yo, 2m 4f,
Class 1   
Friday 26th April 2024

Horses 468x60 Jpg

1 Ballyburn 1/5F
2 Jetara 16/1
3 Predators Gold 17/2
6 ran Distances: 3¼l, 10l, 5½l
Time: 5m 17.70s (slow by 30.20s)

Ballyburn, the six-year-old hurdler trained by Willie Mullins, faced a tougher challenge than anticipated here but,  despite the added effort, he secured victory and played a pivotal role in making Mullins the most successful trainer in Irish racing history.

During the race, Ballyburn encountered a few sloppy jumps, prompting jockey Paul Townend to urge the 1-5 favorite forward. As they turned for home, Ballyburn closed in on front-running stablemate Mirazur West. Meanwhile, Jessica Harrington’s Jetara emerged from the chasing pack to challenge for second place.

However, when it mattered most, Ballyburn produced a superb leap at the final hurdle, dispelling any concerns of an upset. Although not as dominant as in the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, Ballyburn secured a hat-trick of Grade One triumphs, winning by three and a quarter lengths.

On his record-breaking feat, Mullins said: “Dermot pioneered going down to Australia and won the Belmont Stakes, an American Triple Crown race. He’s done superb things, so to be mentioned alongside him is fantastic.”

Mullins sent out his first winner in 1988 and has become the dominant force in the Irish training ranks, with the Closutton handler set to be crowned champion for the 18th time when the Irish season concludes on Saturday.

His latest landmark comes at the end of a truly memorable season that saw Mullins saddle his 100th winner at the Cheltenham Festival and become the first Irish trainer since the great Vincent O’Brien some 70 years ago to win the British trainers’ championship.


His big-race haul included the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Galopin Des Champs, the Champion Hurdle with State Man and the Grand National with I Am Maximus.

He added: “It’s tremendous to break Dermot’s record. Dermot broke lots of records and is a super trainer. Any time you can do something that Dermot Weld did, I’m in very privileged company.

“I imagine someone else will come and break those records, with new fixtures every year. Numbers and records are there to be broken and it’s just great to be here in this position.”

As for Ballyburn’s performance, Mullins commented: “He did it well, he’s just got a huge engine.

“I’m looking forward to whatever he’s going to do next year, whether we’ll stay hurdling or go jumping fences. I’ll have to have a word with connections, David Manasseh and Ronnie Bartlett.

“He’s just a really exciting prospect, the way he got down there and raced over the last two furlongs.

“It looked for a stride or two ‘would he get beaten’, as Jetara was coming with a lovely run. We were delighted with the way our fella finished.

“He’s still not mature and he’s racing too much throughout the race. Once he learns to settle a bit more and use his power at the end of the race, I think he’s going to be a super horse.

“We can go either direction with him. Two miles, two and a half – and on his pedigree, he can go out to three miles.

“I was just chatting to his point-to-point rider and he said he’s a fabulous jumper of a fence, so we have all that to put into the mix and see what direction we go in the future.

“A few of ours ran a bit flat earlier in the day and we were wondering would this fella do the same, but he didn’t. Good horses just dig deep and they do it.”


Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
€125,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 2m 4f, Class 1
6 ran
Going: Yielding

1    Ballyburn 6 11-12 W P Mullins Paul Townend 1/5F
Jetara 6 11-5 Mrs John Harrington Nico de Boinville 16/1
10 Predators Gold 5 11-12 W P Mullins Mr P W Mullins 17/2
Mirazur West 6 11-12 W P Mullins Mark Walsh 25/1
34 Jimmy Du Seuil 5 11-12 W P Mullins Sean O'Keeffe 40/1
PU Staffordshire Knot 6 11-12 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy 25/1

Year Horse Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey SP
2023 Impaire Et Passe 5 11-12 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede W P Mullins Paul Townend 1/3F
2022 State Man 5 11-10 Mrs J Donnelly W P Mullins Paul Townend 11/10F
2021 Gaillard Du Mesnil 5 11-12 Mrs J Donnelly W P Mullins Paul Townend 1/2F
2020 Abandoned - Covid-19
2019 Reserve Tank 5-11-10 The Reserve Tankers Stud Colin Tizzard R M Power 13/2
2018 Dortmund Park 5-11-10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott J W Kennedy 16/1
2017 Bacardys 6-11-10 Shanakiel Racing Synd. Willie Mullins Mr Patrick Mullins 10/1
2016 Jer's Girl 4-6-10 John P McManus G P Cromwell Barry Geraghty 11/8 Fav
2015 Nichols Canyon 5-11-10 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 4/5 Fav
2014 Vautour 5-11-10 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 1/3 Fav
2013 Un Atout 5-11-10 Gigginstown House Stud Willie Mullins Davy Russell 4/6 Fav
2012 Dedigout 6-11-10 Gigginstown House Stud Tony Martin Davy Russell 100/30
2011 Spirit Of Adjisa 7-11-10 Darr, Johnson, Weston & Whitaker Tim Vaughan GB Richard Johnson 16/1
2010 Reve De Sivola 5-11-10 Paul Duffy Diamond P’shp Nick Williams GB Daryl Jacob 9/4 Fav
2009 Mikael D’Haguenet 5-11-10 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 8/11 Fav
2008 Tranquil Sea 6-11-10 Dermot Cox Edward O’Grady Andrew McNamara 7/1
2007 Glencove Marina 5-11-11 John Brennan Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 11/4 Jt Fav
2006 Nicanor 5-11-11 Des Sharkey Noel Meade Ruby Walsh 9/10 Fav
2005 Asian Maze 6-11-07 Sheila Moore Tom Mullins Paul Carberry 6/4 Fav
2004 Sadlers Wings 6-11-12 John J Brennan Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 4/5 Fav
2003 Nobody Told Me 5-11-06 Amber Syndicate Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 9/1
2002 Davenport Milenium 6-11-12 Miriam O’Callaghan Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 100/30
*2001 Colonel Braxton 6-11-12 Sue Magnier Dessie Hughes Kieran Kelly 8/13 Fav
2000 What’s Up Boys 6-12-00 R J B Partners Philip Hobbs GB Richard Johnson 6/1
1999 Native Upmanship 6-12-00 Sue Magnier Arthur Moore Tommy Treacy 8/1
1998 Ballygowan Beauty 6-12-00 Mrs Carmel O’Brien Michael Hourigan Conor O’Dwyer 16/1
1997 Istabraq 5-11-13 J P McManus Aidan O’Brien Charlie Swan 4/11 Fav
1996 Castlekellyleader 7-12-00 E Morrissey Paddy Mullins Tommy Treacy 4/1
1995 Treble Bob 5-11-13 Michael Smurfit Dermot Weld Richard Dunwoody 11/10 Fav
*Run at Fairyhouse

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