Has there been a more dominant trainer in the last decade than Willie Mullins? Probably not.
However, there may be a change in the field as a training fees row has lost the trainer 60 Gigginstown stud horses that were picked to run the racing scene this year.
Owner Michael O’Leary removed all of his horses from Mullins’ County Carlow yard following what people are calling ‘a clash of egos’ and ‘penny-pinching’.
Mullins can expect to see horses that were in his stable on Tuesday morning winning Grade Ones for rival trainers for several seasons to come.
This has called into question the Irishman’s longevity in the game but the biggest loser in this dispute might be O’Leary who’s decision to leave the most successful stable in racing has been widely criticised. A decision that will surely see him suffer come March.
One man expected to close the gap is Gordon Elliott who has benefited massively from this dispute and has taken over training of Don Poli, a huge success in the National Hunt scene.
Of all National Hunt trainers on both sides of the Irish Sea, though, Mullins is possibly best placed to cope with the loss of 60 horses.
His stable stars such as Annie Power, Faugheen and Douvan all wear the pink and green colours of Rich Ricci, while Graham Wylie can also look forward to the season thanks to Yorkhill, Bellshill and others.
The consensus is that despite these losses Willie Mullins will continue to be dominant over the next couple of years but with so many other yards getting significantly stronger don’t be surprised if by 2020 the field will be much more even.