Patrick Mullins sees big future for National winner Callaghan

Last Updated 21 Jul 2022 | By Enda McElhinney | Commercial content | 18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply | Wagering

It may be approaching high summer, with The Derby at Epsom looming this weekend and plans for Royal Ascot in a few weeks’ time to the fore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t business as usual for a certain Willie Mullins.

The Mullins-trained Rock Road bagged the €60,000 McHale Mayo National, the highlight of the season in Ballinrobe, on Tuesday evening and in doing so, provided a first winner over fences for teenager Kieran Callaghan.

Afterwards, Closutton second in command Patrick Mullins hailed the talented teen with a ‘big future’.

Road to success is clear

Racing from 6lb out of the handicap, Rock Road was sent into an early lead at the third fence by Callaghan, though the advantage was soon a contested one as Jacksons Gold was also keen to lead.

Claiming 7lb to offset the imbalance, Callaghan continued to race in a handy position throughout the near three-mile contest and his partner was back at the head of affairs as they reached the third last.

Coming down to the final jump, the 4/1 second-favourite had a clear lead and he was driven out to land the spoils by six-and-a-half-lengths from Gavin Cromwell’s Ilikedwayurthinkin – the market leader – under Mark Walsh.

Aged 10, Rock Road was having only his fourth start for the Mullins team after joining from Michael Bowe last summer. He has won both starts over fences for the champion trainer, adding to his Kilbeggan score last June.

The Ballinrobe win was only his ninth career start over fences and it remains to be seen what more can be achieved for the Bowes Lodge Stables Partnership-owned gelding.

Ballinrobe target pays off

Patrick Mullins, representing his father at the track, confirmed that another member of Team Closutton had recommended the horse having ridden him in plenty of his starts for his former trainer.

Going for the Mayo National was the plan for some while, and it wasn’t altered despite the disadvantage at the weights.

“Brian Hayes recommended him and we bought him from Michael Bowe,” he said. “He’s been lucky for us, despite a few injuries. And this has been the plan for a while, although it wasn’t ideal to be running from out of the handicap.”

Expect to see plenty more of Callaghan

While Callaghan may not be known to many, he was having just his fourth ride over fences, it’s clear the team around him at Closutton have faith in his ability.

“Kieran is 18 and from Old Leighlin which is just up the road from us. He’s with us a couple of years and is a very talented rider who can do those light weights,” Patrick Mullins stated.

“He hasn’t a lot of experience over fences but was very good there. I told him to get a good start and hopefully we’d sit third, fourth or fifth. He ended up in front but he did the right thing and slotted him in after a while. The horse stays well and did it well.

“He is very good value for his 7lb claim. He’s a jockey with a big future and all credit goes to him.”

Enda McElhinney

Enda McElhinney is a racing writer with a growing portfolio of work on both British and Irish racing, with a particular fondness for National Hunt racing. While he acknowledges there have been many great runners; there has only ever been one Denman.

Latest News

Supercomputer Says Limerick Lace Will Win The 2024 Grand National

  The perfect Grand National winner is a nine-year-old horse, with a handicap of 10st 7lbs Successful jockeys are called John or Tommy, whilst trainers called Tom and owners called John have the most luck at Aintree Limerick Lace most closely matches the description of the ideal Grand National runner Our supercomputer has predicted Limerick […]

‘Course specialist’ Noble Yeats has a big chance – Waley Cohen

Noble Yeats, former Grand National winner and Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle contender – Image via @JamesStevens180 on X Sam Waley-Cohen famously partnered Noble Yeats to Aintree Grand National glory two years ago and the now-retired rider sees no reason the horse can’t become the first since Red Rum to win the race, lose it and then […]

Stitching Success: The Silk Colours that Dominate the Grand National

15.04.2023, Aintree, Liverpool, GBR – Horses and jockeys during the Grand National. Winner Corach Rambler with Derek Fox up with saddle cloth 26. Aintree racecourse. The Aintree course is set to be dazzled by horses and jockeys bedecked in colourful silks, as the Grand National is here. The Grand National is the most valuable jumps […]
18+ | Commercial Content | T&C's Apply | Play Responsibly | Advertising Disclosure is an independent professional comparison site supported by referral fees from the sites which are ranked on this site. The sites and information we present are from companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact the rankings of the sites. Other factors, including our own opinions, your location, and the likelihood of signing up, may also impact how the ranking of the sites appears to a particular user. cannot and does not present information about every betting/casino site or betting/casino site offer available.