Willie Mullins irked by Vroum Vroum Mag fine
Willie Mullins expressed his disagreement with the actions of the stewards at Sandown after he was fined £1,000 for withdrawing Vroum Vroum Mag from the bet365 Select Hurdle at Sandown at the 11th hour.
As he could no longer mathematically catch Paul Nicholls in the race to be champion trainer, Mullins decided to wait for Punchestown with the mare.
After being called in by the stewards he was adjudged to have "shown a wilful disregard for the interests of racegoers and punters".
But Mullins said: "I disagree totally, my motives were very genuine, I brought a big team of horses over here and I didn't have to - but it has helped enhance the day and I don't think the stewards took that into account.
"The betting public didn't lose out because she was declared to run so they will get their money back, it has not cost them any money by withdrawing her."
Speaking immediately after taking his charge out, Mullins said: "We came over here to win the championship and we have had a fantastic reception. In the light of the bet365 Gold Cup (in which Nicholls saddled the runner-up Just A Par and fourth-placed Southfield Theatre) we can't win the championship and we are taking Vroum Vroum Mag home and she has a valuable couple of races to run in at Punchestown.
"She was only here for the championship and Mr (Rich) Ricci very kindly let me bring her over to run in a race of much less value. Now we will do what we were aiming to do all winter. I will probably get fined - there's no such thing as a free lunch.
"We have had a fantastic year. I'm just sorry for punters who came to see Vroum Vroum Mag. But the championship was over and we had to take a different view."