Willie Mullins blasts his No1 jockey Paul Townend and heaps praise on ‘supersub’ nephew Danny


WILLIE MULLINS openly slated his No1 jockey Paul Townend after what he believed was a shocking ride on one of his best horses.

Facile Vega was one of four Mullins’ odds-on hotshots to be overturned in dramatic fashion at the Dublin Racing Festival.


Mullins had some choice words for his No1 jockey Townend on the weekendCredit: Sportsfile

Having been odds-on for the Supreme next month, Facile Vega was shunted out to 5-1 on the back of his last-place finish in the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle on Sunday.

Champion Bumper winner Facile Vega set a blistering pace with High Definition and it appeared to prove his undoing.

Townend didn’t even try to cajole more out of the star novice, easing him down long before the post.

In typical Mullins style it was another of his horses – 14-1 Il Etait Temps – who won the race.

But there was no doubt the Closutton supremo was hoping 4-9 Facile Vega would win.

Instead, for the second day running he ended up blasting Townend’s tactics.

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Mild-mannered Mullins said: “They were just going too fast, everyone could see they were going too fast.

“Paul will have to ride him like a racehorse in the future – he rode him like a machine.”

Mullins was originally critical of Townend on Saturday.

The trainer said his top jockey should not have tried so hard on Lossiemouth once it appeared her chance had gone in the Donohue Marquees Spring Juvenile Hurdle.

Trailing pacemaker and huge outsider Jourdefete, Lossiemouth was knocked back when that horse botched a hurdle.

Townend then went wide on Lossiemouth in a bid to make up the ground.

But Mullins was left wishing he had accepted defeat rather than drive out unnecessary effort just five weeks before the Triumph hurdle fav looks to give owner Rich Ricci back-to-back wins in the race.

Mullins, whose words were compared to John Gosden’s bust-up with Frankie Dettori, said: “I just hope it doesn’t leave its mark that she had such a hard run from the third-last home.

“She put in a huge effort for a juvenile filly and that might just leave a mark.

“That’s what I’m really worried about and I would have been happier if Paul had maybe just been hands and heels.

Willie's nephew Danny was one of the stars of the show at Dublin Racing Festival - and punters suggested he could get the top job with the top trainer


Willie’s nephew Danny was one of the stars of the show at Dublin Racing Festival – and punters suggested he could get the top job with the top trainerCredit: Sportsfile

“The writing was on the wall, so what was the point in hitting her?

“He has to have a go to try to win, but to me unless Danny’s made a mistake at the last he wasn’t going to get to that one.”

Punters were quick to suggest Mullins might look closer to home in future for his No1 rider.

The trainer’s nephew Danny was on Lossiemouth’s conqueror Gala Marceau and Il Etait Temps, who saw off Facile Vega.

He also banged in a win on Gentleman De Mee – who beat Townend’s 1-4 fav Blue Lord – in the Dublin Chase.

One punter wrote on Twitter: “Danny Mullins will be Willie’s No1 at this rate!”

While another said: “Willie’s nephew is by FAR the best jockey in his yard. Townend is simply not up to the job. Danny is a quality horseman.”

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And even Mullins himself said of his relative: “He’s some supersub. He’s the second jockey when Paul is not there.

“He keeps riding winners for me and he’s very brave.”


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