Exactly 70 years ago (1954), Vincent O’Brien made history by becoming Britain’s champion trainer over jumps, despite training all his horses in Ireland.

The Cork-born, Tipperary-based O’Brien pulled off this incredible achievement (twice) by winning races like the Grand National three times in a row in the 1950s, and he also regularly trained the winner of the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

These days Willie Mullins is equally dominant in jump racing, both at home and in Britain, and he is on the verge of emulating O’Brien by being crowned champion jumps trainer in Britain at the end of this month.

The success of I Am Maximus in last Saturday’s £1 million Grand National put Mullins at the top of the trainers’ table in Britain. The title is based on prize money won and the Co Carlow-based handler, who also had nine winners at the Cheltenham Festival last month, is about £50,000 ahead of Dan Skelton with Paul Nicholls another £80,000 behind in third.

Champion trainer

Mullins has been champion trainer in Ireland on 17 occasions and, with just a few weeks remaining in the season, he is miles ahead once again. But he is going all out to win the British title too, so watch out for his runners across the water in the coming weeks.

If Mullins can saddle the winner of the Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday (it’s worth £112,540 to the winner), he should be home and hosed. The British season ends at Sandown on Saturday, 27 April, a day when Mullins might be tempted to send El Fabiolo over for the Celebration Chase.

Targeting these upcoming British races might mean that Mullins won’t have quite as many bullets to fire at the Punchestown Festival (30 April - 4 May) but that wouldn’t be a bad thing for racing as the champion trainer usually dominates that week with between 10 and 12 winners, and it was starting to look like he would be even more powerful there this year.

What Willie Mullins is achieving in his sport is simply incredible. Yes, he has access to the best horses but it is only because he has produced such great results over an extended period that the major racehorse owners feel they cannot afford to have their horses trained anywhere else if they want success in the big races.