Could Mullins spark Welsh raid on Melbourne?

Willie Mullins is a racing trainer in prime form. His horses dominated the Cheltenham Festival, and he’s expected to head over to Australia in a bid to win one of the world’s richest races – the Melbourne Cup.

Last year saw Mullins make a concerted effort to win what is described in Australia as the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’, with the not insignificant $4.4 million prize pot also unsurprisingly playing a part in the decision to head Down Under.

Hopes that the decision would pay dividends were high, with Vauban – a winner over jumps at the Cheltenham Festival and on the flat at Royal Ascot – heading the Melbourne Cup betting odds, and stablemate Absurde also traveling over as a live contender.

Ultimately, both came up short in their attempts, Vauban finishing a disappointing 14th and Absurde a more promising 7th, but the signs are that both horses will again undertake a full flat racing season, notably running in the Ascot Gold Cup next month, before returning to Melbourne.

Could some of Wales’ top trainers and indeed jockeys attempt to follow in Willie Mullins’ footsteps?

David Evans was crowned Flat Race Trainer of the Year in last year’s Welsh Horse Racing Awards, so he’d be the most obvious candidate to take a shot at the big prize in November. For now though, his focus is squarely on Royal Ascot, where the likes of King’s Code and Blue Prince are both expected to line up next month.

Should either impress then Glorious Goodwood is likely to be next on the agenda before the lure of the Melbourne Cup truly beckons.

As for Welsh jockeys to keep an eye on, Daniel Muscutt is the natural one to look out for, as the regular jockey for Deauville Legend and Welsh Flat Racing Jockey of the Year for 2023. Aussie Kerrin McEvoy was ultimately given the nod to take the reins when Deauville Legend came home in fourth at November’s Melbourne Cup, but it’s Muscutt who remains the most likely candidate to carry Welsh hopes.