Final-day double seals new record for Mullins
Patrick Mullins broke the long-standing record for the number of winners from an amateur jockey in a calendar year in Ireland when steering Zuzka home for his father Willie in the IBTA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Zuzka provided him with his 73rd victory of 2012 to overtake Billy Parkinson, who had 72 winners way back in 1915. And he made it winner No 74 later on when Outlander (9/4f) won the bumper on the final day of the Christmas festival.
Mullins rode his first winner as a 16-year-old in 2006 and enjoyed a cosy triumph on the 11/10 favourite. Jumping into the lead at the second-last flight, Zuzka quickened clear to score by six-and-a-half lengths from Burn And Turn.
"I was starting to think it might not happen in the last few days," said the record-breaker. "I went down to Limerick but was not allowed to ride there but I am absolutely delighted that it has all worked out now. I don't think I am riding any better, I think my dad is just training better!"
"It is fantastic and I am delighted for Patrick," said his proud father. "I would like to thank all our owners who have supported him over the year. Tony Sweeney made us aware of the record earlier in the year (Billy Parkinson was his uncle).
"We would also like to thank Fr Moloney from Clongowes Wood who let Patrick out to ride when he was just 16 and I believe that made a terrific difference to his riding career.
"It was a bit of a freak year with the wet weather and we were able to keep our horses going through the summer.
"Traditionally June, July and August are quiet months for us and our yard went a bit quiet in October but Patrick was still able to pick up a few rides from other yards. It is an extraordinary record and it will be hard to see it beaten."
Of Zuzka, the trainer said: "Paul Townend got off her the last day and he said that she wanted the extra trip. She is improving all the time."
Stan James gave Zuzka a quote of 8/1 for the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham for which her stablemate Quevega is 4/5 favourite.
Sunday Indo Sport