WILLIE Mullins has become the most successful trainer in the history of Irish racing, in terms of the number of winners trained.

When Ballyburn won the Grade 1 novice hurdle at Punchestown on Friday evening, he was the 4,378th winner trained by Mullins, surpassing Dermot Weld’s current total of 4,377.

Based in Closutton, Co Carlow, Mullins will be crowned Irish National Hunt champion trainer for the 18th time on Saturday. He is also the most successful trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival, having saddled more than 100 winners.

Mullins started training in 1988, having previously worked as an assistant to his father Paddy Mullins and Jim Bolger. He is a former six-time amateur champion jockey in Ireland, winning the 1983 Aintree Fox Hunters’ Chase on Atha Cliath and the 1996 Cheltenham Bumper on Wither Or Which.

Just a week ago Mullins won the British jumps trainers’ championship, becoming the first trainer based in Ireland to win that title since Vincent O’Brien in 1954. Mullins secured the British championship thanks primarily to nine winners at the Cheltenham Festival and victories in the Aintree Grand National, the Scottish Grand National and the Sandown Gold Cup.

Ballyburn was the 37th Grade 1 winner of the season for Mullins, surpassing the world record of 34 set by Mullins himself in the 2015-’16 season.