For the third Saturday in a row, Willie Mullins trained the winner of a major British staying handicap chase when Minella Cocooner won the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

It proved a perfect finale to the British jumps season, which saw Mullins crowned champion trainer, a feat which has not been achieved by an Irish-based trained since Vincent O'Brien 70 years ago.

The trainer's 28 winners in the UK plus the efforts of placed horses have netted him £3,489,256. Dan Skelton finished runner-up with Dan Skelton third.

Mullins said: “It’s fantastic to be champion trainer. I would like to thank all my owners who have been magnificent. They said bring to England whatever you need to win the title, which was tremendous.

“Between the owners, my staff and my jockeys – what more could you ask for? You need the horses but if you have got the setup, the horses will come.

“Vincent is the legend of the game and just to emulate something he did is extraordinary and something we couldn’t comprehend doing.

“We had never dreamed of doing it but after we were pipped at the post in 2016, I said if we ever got the opportunity again then we would go for it. David Casey went through all our horses to find out what was qualified for all races in England, Scotland and Wales!

“What more can I say? I am amazed at the racing public over here, to be welcomed with such open arms everywhere we have gone. I would also like to thank the sponsors for putting on such a great day with a large prize money pot.

“It has been such a special day with Jackie (his wife), Patrick (son), David Casey, Ruby Walsh, James Nash and others from back in the day as well as a big crowd of friends all here today.

“I am sure we are going to celebrate long and hard! We will start off this evening, go on through the whole of Punchestown next week and maybe a few days after that!

“Everyone at home at Closutton, the local community and the whole of Irish racing has really been hyped by the whole thing and wishing us the best of luck for today.”

On Minella Cocooner, the master of Closutton added; “It was special for my nephew Danny to ride him, especially after what he did at Ayr last week (when winning the Scottish Grand National on Macdermott).

“He gave Minella Cocooner a tremendous ride today and got him really balanced and travelling, with tremendous jumps over the last two,

“Danny has been fantastic for us all season and I would also like to thank the owner (David Bobbett) for letting me come here rather than waiting for Punchestown next week.”

Mullins went on to have a second winner on the card when Impaire Et Passe (Paul Townend) won the Grade 2 Select Hurdle, compensation for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede following the earlier defeat for El Fabiolo in the Grade 1 Celebration Chase.

Also at Sandown, Harry Cobden was formally awarded the champion jump jockeys' title, holding off Sean Bowen to claim the title for the first time.

Patrick Wadge, who is attached to Lucinda Russell’s yard, took the conditional riders’ title while J.P. McManus was the leading owner.