It was truly fitting that the first race meeting that took place after the funeral of Maureen Mullins took place at Gowran Park, a track where she cut the tape on a brand new weigh room facility only last month.

Even more fitting was that Saint Sam, trained by Maureen’s son Willie, took the feature Grade 2 Red Mills Chase in fine style.

“I think granny would have enjoyed that, it’s a pity not to have her here in the picture,” said Patrick Mullins, grandson of Maureen. “She had a marvellous life.”

First lady

Described as Irish racing’s first lady and matriarch at her funeral in Goresbridge on Friday, Maureen had been a constant presence on Irish racecourses for 70 years. Wife of the late Paddy, the legendary trainer of Dawn Run, she was mother to Sandra, Willie, George, Tony and Tom.

Willie is likely to train his 100th winner at the Cheltenham Festival next month while both Tony and Tom are Grade/Group 1 winning trainers. That is not to mention the next generation that includes Patrick, 15-time champion amatuer, Emmet and David, already Grand National-winning trainer and rider respectively and Danny, who added three more Grade 1 wins to his significant haul when riding at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Tony delivered the eulogy at the funeral, and said: “Our mother was always there, through the good days and the bad, to buck us up and keep us going.

“She always looked on the positive side. That is the way it was right up to the end. An amazing woman, an amazing story from start to finish.”

Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Suzanne Eade commented: “It was fitting that Mrs Mullins was the recipient of HRI’s Contribution to the Industry Award in 2016, recognising her many great years of involvement in Irish racing.

“Mrs Mullins was the matriarch of a true racing dynasty. A strong independent woman, she will certainly be missed from racecourses the length and breadth of the country.”