Wednesday 28 June 2017

Irresistible force meets immovable object and the outcome is good for Irish racing

'Gigginstown might argue that its other main client, Gordon Elliott, is appreciably cheaper.' Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE...ABC
'Gigginstown might argue that its other main client, Gordon Elliott, is appreciably cheaper.' Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE...ABC

Johnny Ward

It is a staggering indication of Willie Mullins' resources that he can surrender 60 horses yet believe no staff will be let go.

Objecting to a 10pc training fee rise - a revision all other owners apparently agreed to - emphasises the ruthlessness of Michael O'Leary. Ryanair have lightened up with age and are now a nicer airline but the businessman who once opened up a corner shop on Christmas Day and trebled the price of batteries has not abandoned his world view wholly. It is a staggering development, albeit one which will not shock all in racing. Here we have the champion owner and trainer parting ways. There is an element of the irresistible force and the immovable object about it all.

Mullins is exceptionally shrewd and a genius, too. He is also his own man. He has become the utterly dominant figure in racing and can probably stay there even without the five dozen horses that scattered around the country yesterday.

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