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Willie Mullins Emotional After Winning First Cheltenham Champion Chase

Willie Mullins Emotional After Winning First Cheltenham Champion Chase
By PJ Browne
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Willie Mullins was overcome with emotion following the Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday. Though, you only really knew that because he told you. Energumene, owned by Brighton chairman Tony Bloom, had just become the trainer's first ever winner of the race.

Speaking to ITV, Mullins immediately deferred to Bloom as he composed himself.

"I'm delighted," said Mullins.

"Tony, you can take over there."

It was a race which saw favourite Shishkin pulled up early, and another Mullins contender, Chacun Pour Soi, fall soon after.

"I was disappointed for Shishkin and Nicky Henderson, to go out without a fight, but you could clearly see early on in the race that he wasn't happy on the ground, and in the conditions," said Mullins.

"For Chacun Pour Soi, who appeared to be going very well, [to fall], I was feeling for Patrick [Mullins] and Rich [Ricci].


"Every time you looked back at Paul on Energumene, he was just travelling so sweet all the time. You were just hoping he wasn't going to make a mistake or have anything happen. Paul played the safe game, kept wide, kept out of trouble, just kept pulling him back. He just gave him a perfect ride.

"I'm surprised that I'm feeling the way I am, but there we are. That probably shows how much it means to me."

Paul Townend said it had been a "really hard decision" to choose between Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi.


"I had the headache first of picking which one I wanted to ride," said Townend.

"It was hard to get off Chacun. I love Chacun Pour Soi. The way things fell, I picked this lad to ride. I love the two horses.

"We've gone through tactics a lot at home. Myself, David and Ruby. Everyone had a bit of an input. My father, I was trying to get everyone's opinion. It's brilliant when it works out.


"Over the first two, I saw Nico trying to get a bit closer, and I was just watching him, seeing what's happening. I had to make a decision then, that I had to go after the race as well. It was clear that Nico wasn't going from early on. I just had to ride my own race after that. I probably ended up riding three or four different races, but it worked in the end."

See Also: Cork Jockey Rides 50/1 Winner In Coral Cup At Cheltenham

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