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Mullins' magic year simply sensational

LAST Saturday brought the curtain down on the Irish National Hunt season and it saw the all-conquering Willie Mullins crowned champion trainer once again.

By now, Willie's achievements have been well spoken about, but what a year it has been. Firstly, he broke Aidan O'Brien's record of most winners in a season and finished up with 193 – 38 clear of O'Brien's record.

Mullins' total prize money earned fell just short of an unimaginable €4million, he broke his own Punchestown record of 12 by winning 14 races last week, that was after a memorable Cheltenham and, of course, Blackstairsmountain winning the Grand Jump in Japan.

With the novices he has to progress to next season and go over fences, the ammunition is frightening.

Davy Russell was given a huge scare by Ruby Walsh having led by seven going into Punchestown, but the Cork native maintained the lead to win by two at the end of the season.

The support of his main boss at Gigginstown has been instrumental but Russell's absence from the likes of Sir Des Champs at Cheltenham was notable and he is a valuable asset to the champion owner.

Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud were again crowned champion owners ahead of JP McManus, but without them, along with Barry Connell, Rich Ricci and Alan Potts, the jumping game in Ireland would be at a huge loss and their contributions in the past few seasons and in the future are vital.