Champion trainer Willie Mullins opened his doors to the racing press this morning to launch the National Hunt Season.
48 horses were put through their paces on the gallops including a number in the ownership of the Surpreme Horse Racing Club which was last week suspended from running horses by Horse Racing Ireland pending an inquiry into disputed shareholdings in some horses within the club.
Willie Mullins said: "I have 14 horses in training for the club at this minute, a lot have been sold or retired. I don't have 29 in training for them now."
"I am paid up to date so have no issue at this minute. I just want to train winners, so no reason for me to stop anything yet. I know a lot of the Supreme Racing people, the owners, and they are a fantastic bunch. This has to be resolved quickly."
"The Authorities have to do what they have to do. I believe there has been one meeting already which has resolved a few issues and another meeting is planned to take place before the end of this week which I'm hoping will resolve a lot more issues if not all of them and then they might get back up and running."
Regarding the Supreme Horse Racing club mare Listen Dear which was sold last week at Goffs UK
Mullins said: "The owners' representative rang me and said they wanted her sold. Because of everything that was going on I said make sure everyone knows and he told me they were and that the majority of owners wanted the mare sold. And remember that decision was made to sell her before she won in Limerick. That was to be her last throw of the dice. There might have been a couple of guys that changed their minds after she won so well in Limerick."
Horse Racing Ireland's Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs Johnathan Mullin issued the following statement on the matter:
"Horse Racing Ireland confirm that it has received information from Supreme Horse Racing Club but unfortunately the details received were unsatisfactory and fall someway short of the basic information needed to move this process on. We continue to be in correspondence with Supreme Horse Racing Club in a bid to resolve concerns shared with us by members."
Regarding his string in general Willie Mullins feels he has them in a good shape for the season ahead, "I'm very happy with the horses over the last week, how fit they look and how the guys tell me they are riding."
Some horses that came in for special mention included:
Allaho - "is a horse I am particularly looking forward to. He is a huge strong galloping horse that any jockey would love to sit on in a novice chase. The whole yard is looking forward to watching him go over fences."
Laurina - "Paul (Townend) says she is a natural over fences"
Al Boum Photo - "He is well, I am just waiting for ground for him. I don't mind going back to Tramore with him this year like we did last year. I just want to get him out and started."
Un de Sceaux - "he just trains with such enthusiasm, he still thinks he's four years of age. He loves his job and seems the same horse as he has been for the last two or three years even though he is the age he is."
Footpad - "we had a mixed season with him last year. I want to go out in trip with him. Start him over 2 1/2 miles and then try 3 miles."
Stormy Ireland - "She is not the biggest mare to go chasing but I was chatting to Ruby (Walsh) and he thought she would make a fantastic novice chaser. She has as much scope as any of the big horses."
Melon - "looks a better chaser than hurdler"
Faugheen - "should have gone chasing last year, that was my mistake. He was bought to go chasing and is too young to retire. I am not aiming him at Cheltenham though he might get an entry. I'm just hoping for a nice year. If he can win a few chases and turn up at our Festivals I will be very pleased."
Chacun Pour Soi - "Slightly behind the others, might not see him until Christmas."
Douvan - "Seems in great shape, back working the way he was two years ago."
Kemboy - "The Gold Cup is the ultimate aim and the King George is a possible target."
Klassical Dream - "Maybe start off in the Morgiana and then look up the route we took with Hurricane Fly and Faugheen to Cheltenham and hope we can do something similar with him. I really want soft ground for him. He won on good but I think he is way better on soft, proper National Hunt ground."
Stratum - "Will be aimed at the big race in Saudi Arabia in the new year. We might give him a run over hurdles at Christmas to freshen him up."
And a couple of dark horses that are exciting the Champion trainer in their work are Lamarckise (4-y-o) and Echoes In Rain (3-y-o) which both came from France.