Irish trainer Willie Mullins has expressed deep pride after setting a record for the most winners in Cheltenham Festival history.
Mullins passed Nicky Henderson’s mark of 60 winners when Laurina claimed the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on Thursday to add to the earlier success of Penhill in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Mullins secured a first Festival victory when Tourist Attraction claimed top honours in the 1995 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
“When you start training in a base in Ireland, you are thinking to yourself ‘if I get one Cheltenham winner that will be it’, so I’ve never dreamt of being the winning-most trainer,” Mullins said.
“It is a complete surprise.
“It is a huge thank you to my staff and owners that have given us that record, as without them I wouldn’t be in this position.
“I’m lucky and delighted.”
Fellow Irishman Gordon Elliott trained three winners on Thursday and trails Mullins by one win in their battle to be the leading trainer at this year’s Festival.
Mullins has 20 runners on the final day while Elliott has 11.