EMMET and Danny Mullins became the latest members of the Mullins dynasty to enjoy a winner at Auteuil as Fujimoto Flyer maintained her unbeaten record over jumps with a dominant display in the Listed Prix Pelat on Tuesday.
It is 35 years since Paddy Mullins saddled the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning mare Dawn Run to claim the Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil (French Champion Hurdle) at the Parisian circuit. She was fatally injured when bidding for a second win in the race two years later.
Willie Mullins, son of Paddy and an uncle of both Emmet and Danny, is also no stranger to success in France, with his several big-race victories in France including five runnings of the French Champion Hurdle, most recently with Benie Des Dieux in May.
Winless in six starts on the flat, Fujimoto Flyer appeared much improved by the switch to hurdling when scoring by 18 lengths at Killarney a fortnight ago and stepped up to listed class at Auteuil.
Kept wide by Danny Mullins throughout the two-mile-two-furlong contest, she was still full of running rounding the home turn and found plenty for pressure once given her head to win emphatically.
Emmet Mullins told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m over the moon – it’s a bit surreal. She was very impressive. We came here not expecting too much. I told Danny to go out and ride for third and anything after that would be a bonus.
“She was brilliant there and jumped great and galloped to the line. She’s free-going, but that’s her and she runs to the line, so I don’t mind too much. It’s unbelievable to be able to come to Auteuil and compete – it’s the stuff of dreams. To win a listed race like that, especially on our first attempt, is something we’ll cherish.”
Mullins has previously mentioned a possible trip to America later in the year for his exciting filly. The trainer enjoyed a successful trip to the US last October when saddling Tornado Watch to finish second behind Gordon Elliott’s Jury Duty in the American Grand National at Far Hills in New Jersey– and there is a juvenile hurdle at the same meeting which could suit Fujimoto Flyer.
Danny Mullins – the winning trainer’s cousin – said: “It was a big performance. She was very good in Killarney, but Irish three-year-olds can be a long way behind the French, so it was a bold move both from Emmet and Paul (Byrne, owner) to come here. Thankfully it’s paid off.
“Going up by the stands she came alive as the crowd started to cheer and I missed the next hurdle, but it was ideal as it made her wake up and think about what she was doing.
“Going down to the second-last I was hopeful we’d keep galloping and get blacktype, but once I jumped that she came back on the bridle again and I knew we had a chance of getting more. The way she hit the line was so impressive in a race of this class.
“It’s my first win in France. Being part of such a great family is fantastic – you’ve got to keep working to make the opportunities arise, but hopefully we’ll have plenty more.”