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a mixed bag for mullins

It's fair to say that Willie Mullins has had much better weeks training race horses. He's probably had worse, but not too many, despite scoring two successive three-timers.

The champion trainer hasn't really gone into any great detail as to what made him decide that Hurricane Fly would not be re-emerging this weekend, nor at Fairyhouse for the Hattons Grace. Christmas is now his target, but he simply isn't happy.

When training a horse of such sheer class you have to be totally happy, although the somewhat ignorant of us would maybe believe a 75pc right Hurricane Fly would still be good enough to win a lot of Grade One's due to his talents.


Thankfully, all accounts suggest it's not overly serious and the best two-miler, arguably since the legendary Istabraq, will be back doing what he does at the end of next month.

A more major loss to the yard came last Saturday when one of the country's best bumper horses of last season, Lovethehigherlaw, tragically died at Mullins' Closutton base.

The Grade One entrant had yet to make his debut over hurdles but had all the hallmarks of a star novice hurdler in the making, and even with the abundance of talent at Mullins' and owner Gigginstown Stud's disposal, this is a major loss.

Despite all this, there are so many positives to discuss for Mullins this week.

Mullins still trails Noel Meade in winners trained this season. But of his total of 31 for the season so far, 14 of those have come since the beginning of this month.

The man is in red-hot form and his current run is ominous for Meade and the rest. Add in the quote from this week when Mullins said that "some of mine are just a bit backward at the moment", and you certainly wouldn't be backing against him regaining his crown. Nor would you bet against him adding to that sensational run this weekend with the likes of Thousand Stars, Scotsirish, Sir Des Champs, Tennis Cap, Midnight Game, Toostrong and Felix Younger all holding entries.

It was a tough week, but at Closutton there is a lot to look forward to. An awful lot more.