Mullins ends Weld’s reign as king of Ballybrit

Mullins picked up the Galway Hurdle with Clondaw Warrior

Willie Mullins ended the long reign of Dermot Weld as he was crowned champion trainer at the 2016 Galway Festival.

Not since Aidan O’Brien in 1997 had Weld’s name not been top of the roll of honour, but a score of 58 to 54 on the recently-introduced points-based system meant the laurels went the way of Mullins.

The County Carlow maestro sent out 17 horses to contest 15 races and recorded nine winners, highlighted by the victory of Clondaw Warrior in the Galway Hurdle on Thursday.

A double on the final day through the Ruby Walsh-ridden Alelchi Inois and Devils Bride secured the spoils.

For his part, Weld, who had openly admitted his team was not as strong as in previous years, managed six winners.

Walsh was top National Hunt rider with seven winners and Pat Smullen best on the Flat with six.

Walsh had little hesitation in nominating his victory aboard Clondaw Warrior, owned by a syndicate that includes his wife Gillian, as the stand-out moment.

Walsh said: “We didn’t have that huge a team of horses but thankfully they were in great order and a lot of them hit the target.

“It was a dream come true to ride such a big winner for some of your closest friends – it was a great kick.”

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