Willie Mullins has come back to nail the champion trainer title in a thrilling end to the jumps season in Ireland.
The perennial champion appeared to have a mountain to climb at the start of the week as he trailed rival Gordon Elliott by a shade over 400,00 euro ($A582,000)..
But after having gradually reduced the deficit, Mullins hit the front with a sparkling treble on Friday and headed into Saturday in the lead and maintained it through the final day of National Hunt racing.
“I didn’t think it was possible for us to win, particularly when a few of the early photo-finishes went against us this week,” Mullins said.
“It’s fantastic to win and a big thank you to all the team at home and all my owners.
“It’s been a funny season. It hasn’t been that enjoyable and I’m glad it’s over.”
Mullins’ stable suffered when leading owner Michael O’Leary took 60 horses racing under his Gigginstown House Stud banner from his yard in a dispute over training fees with many going to Elliott.
“I think it’s been a great battle between two master trainers,” O’Leary told At The Races.
“Willie’s performed heroics this year. He lost my horses back in September and he’s still champion trainer.
“It just goes to show the depth of the talent that he has down there and Gordon has come on in leaps and bounds.
“Gordon has won a lot of the handicap races, Willie’s won most of the Graded races and that’s the difference.
“I’ve no doubt at some point in time Gordon will become champion trainer, but Willie is going to be a mighty mountain to move over.”