Cheltenham Festival: Willie Mullins bandwagon rolls on with Back in Focus
The Willie Mullins bandwagon continued in the first race on the second day of the Festival as Back In Focus won a dramatic John Oaksey National Hunt Chase.
Under a never-say-die ride from Mullins' son Patrick, the well-backed gelding stayed on in the closing stages to collar Tofino Bay near the finish of the four-mile race – the longest race of the season – to score by half length.
Tofino Bay looked set to wins under Nina Carberry as he led over the last fence but agonisingly for everyone connected with him, the gelding started to flag on the tough uphill finish.
That allowed Mullins to seize his chance aboard Back In Focus (9-4 favourite) and he made no mistake to provide his dad with his fourth winner of the meeting.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"This is very special," he said. "I didn't think so jumping the second-last, but at the last I thought we might catch Tofino Bay.
"My horse *****ed his ears and I said, 'You've got something left'. I didn't know if I'd get there and it wasn't until I got right upsides Nina's horse that I thought I might.
"It's a bit of fairytale, for me anyway. You can't describe riding a winner at the Festival.
"The horse is tough and brave and the team at home have done a great job with him, and that makes my job so much easier."
Winning owner Graham Wylie, best known for his association with World Hurdle winner Inglis Drever, admitted he thought he might have to settle for second place.
"I thought we were beaten two fences out and that Tofino Bay had got it and we were going to finish second or third, but his stamina kicked inn and he got there in the end.
"It was fantastic to watch," he said.
"He's a Grade One winner in Ireland and on form he was the best horse in the race. We weren't sure whether he'd stay four miles, but now he's done that, hopefully that bodes well for the future.
"Willie is such a fantastic trainer. He places them really well and he gets them right on the day.
"It's great to have a horse good enough to run at the Festival – it's fantastic."