Fact To File's rider Patrick Mullins flags his father Willie's sixth winner of the day at Leopardstown
© Photo Healy Racing
Out of luck in the preceding Paddy Power Chase where none of his eight runners were amongst the first ten finishers, Willie Mullins still made it six winners on the day at Leopardstown when 8/13 favourite Fact To File stayed on dourly to land the 2m4f bumper. Irish Panther turned in travelling best but didn't quite last home as the winner, successful in a Belharbour point-to-point for Donnchadh Doyle in the spring, responded well to Patrick Mullins' urgings to collar that one in the final hundred yards for a two-length victory.
“That fella took all day to get going. He was one of the favourite horses I bought last year, I loved him from the day he came,” said Mullins.
“He does things a little more slowly than other horses but he got the job done. That experience today, especially what he did in the last 100 yards, will stand to him.
“I think he might make a half decent bumper horse before he goes jumping.”
“It's been an extraordinary day, our planning department at home deserves all the credit for this, putting the horses in the right races and having them right.
“Between David Casey, Ruby (Walsh) and Patrick picking out different horses for different races and then just getting ready for the race, it's a huge team effort.
“Ben Delmar, who is our head travelling man, getting them all right. Getting the right numbers on the right horses in the Paddy Power is a feat in itself.
“I have to thank everyone, especially owners as without them we wouldn't be here. A huge thanks to them for having faith in us to have days like this.”
When asked if he thought he might go through the card at one stage he added:- “Not really, even though we had eight in the big race it was in hope more than expectation. We were hoping something might go right but things didn't work out, but anyhow they all came home safe and sound.
“I was delighted for Eric and Conor. It was a tremendous achievement for them. Conor rode a lot for me over the last couple of years as a claimer and I've known Eric since we started in racing.”
When asked if it was his best day in racing:- “It has to be right up there. When you think of your best day in racing you think of your first Cheltenham winner for an Irish trainer but it's one of those real good days.”
On Facile Vega - “Having young horses like that coming through all the time, the established horses get old quick enough once the season is over in Punchestown, so every yard needs young horses coming through.
“He's one that excites most people. I've been excited about plenty of other young horses.
“Horses can be great novices and they don't make the jump into senior company but this fella has answered every question we've asked him and I can't ask any more until he just keeps going up in grade.
“He looks a real good horse and whatever he does over hurdles he looks a real chaser too.
“I'm looking at him and I'm thinking 'wow what's he going to be like over a fence'. He's made to jump fences.
“We'll see how far he can go with his hurdle career first before we start making predictions of where he's going to go.”
Quotes from Gary Carson