PATRICK MULLINS goes into the weekend action at Fairyhouse and Navan needing just two winners to equal the long-standing record of Billy Parkinson for the most winners ridden in a calendar year by an amateur jockey.
The leading rider would look a short price to break the record long before Punchestown and Tramore's double meeting on New Year's Eve after Mozoltov, trained by his father Willie, won at Gowran Park yesterday.
The long odds-on favourite was one of four rides the 23-year-old had at his local track and he duly obliged, winning by 24 lengths with his other mounts Upazo, Champagne Agent and Super Mix finishing second, fifth and second respectively.
Mozoltov's emphatic maiden hurdle success brought Mullins onto 70 and within touching distance of the record held by Parkinson since 1915.
Mullins was in Cheltenham today where his mount Uncle Junior was favourite for the Cross County Chase and expected to be among his rides over the weekend with a couple of his father's notable entries in bumpers over the two days.
At Fairyhouse tomorrow, he has a total of four entries, all of whom would have to be respected in their own right, while on Sunday at Navan in the ultra-competitive Grade Two bumper Willie has included Union Dues who won first time out at Killarney earlier in the year.
Willie Mullins also has exciting novice chase recruit Boston Bob entered over the weekend at both meetings, and it is likely he will make his debut over fences at one or the other.
The five-time winner, who runs for owner Graham Wylie, was last seen when finishing second to the ill-fated Brindisi Breeze at Cheltenham in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle last March.
While it is somewhat the calm before the storm this weekend in relation to the quality on offer ahead of the big Leopardstown meeting over Christmas, there is still plenty to look forward to.
Tom Mullins' ever improving Cheltenham, Fairyhouse and Punchestown Festival winner Alderwood is another interesting beginners' chase entry, and like Boston Bob he was entered at both Fairyhouse and Navan.
The highlight of the weekend is undoubtedly going to be the Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle, which features the exciting Don Cossack for trainer Gordon Elliott and his owners at the Gigginstown House Stud.
A maiden hurdle winner at the track, Don Cossack steps up in trip and grade as he takes on Grade One company for the first time in a so far exemplary career.
On the same card, the Grade Two bumper is an intriguing affair with six previous winners including three who have won on their only start - Ted Walsh's Champagne James, Stuart Crawford's Gilt Shadow and the Willie Mullins-trained Union Deus.