Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Press Release 15th March 2024 Cheltenham


Friday 15th March

Having had a rare blank day at The Festival yesterday, trainer Willie Mullins bounced back with a 101st Festival success when Majborough landed the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle, the opening race on Gold Cup Day.

It was a 1-2 for the master of Closutton with Kargese finishing the length and a half runner-up.

Willie Mullins said: “I’m surprised at his price - 6/1 - I picked him to be favourite.

“All of mine have been improving all season for their second run. I couldn’t get him out at Christmas; I got him out for the Dublin Racing Festival, and I was worried about that, but Mark [Walsh] learnt an awful lot about him. He came back into me and said, ‘this guy can make all the running’, and that was the plan today, but I think he was in about sixth all the way round - that’s how strong the pace was; he couldn’t even make it but he wanted to.

“He’s a chaser, isn’t he? When he came into the yard and they said he was our Triumph Hurdle horse, I said I thought he was a Gold Cup horse, a three-mile chaser. He’s very ‘trained’ at the moment; a bit angular, like all the French horses, but when he comes in from a summer’s grass, he will be some beast.

“This horse is so untypical of what a Triumph Hurdle horse is, and has a big jumping pedigree, but when we started to work him, he gallops more than has speed, and Danny had him for caught for speed coming round the last bend, but when Mark got off him the last day, he said, ‘This fella jumps and gallops’, and his intention today was to make it, and Danny’s intention was to make the running, so it shows how fast the pace was that they were fifth or sixth the whole way. Then when Danny went on, I could see Mark still winding him up, and he went for one jump at the last and got that jump and just ground it out, as Mark said he would.

“He may well go novice chasing next season, although I don’t really like doing that with a horse so young, so we’ll see.”

Winning rider Mark Walsh told ITV Racing: ): “He’s not your typical juvenile hurdler, he’s a big chaser. He’s such a big four-year-old and so strong. He was a little bit keen in my hands early, but we went a good enough gallop and I was just happy to sit and get a lead for as long as I could. The last day in Leopardstown, I thought I should have gone quicker, but we were going quick enough today.

“Danny came up outsides me into the straight and I was delighted because then he had something to aim at going to the last and he ground it out well.”

On the ground, he said: “It is testing work now, it’s a lot slower than yesterday. We would call it soft to heavy at home, but it is testing work.”

The jockey went on to say: “They went a nice gallop and I just sat in there third or fourth. I took it up after the second last and was delighted to see Danny go by me into the straight as it gave me something to aim at going to the last. He stays well, gallops well and jumps brilliant. He’s a massive big horse and I’d say his future lies over fences. He’s one to look forward to.”

Danny Mullins, rider of runner-up Kargese, said: “She travelled well and I was able to keep hanging on to her a bit. Mark’s horse hit a flat spot then kept going late on, but mine was good and tough to gallop all the way to the line.  There was never a moment when I felt I had everything covered. It’s a long way up that hill and you’re never home until you’re home in Cheltenham on the New Course. I suppose Mark’s horse was the one you would have taken out of the Leopardstown race.

Josh Moore, assistant trainer to his father Gary, said of the third Salver: “Salver could have done with a strong pace to run at rather than having to make his own running. He’s had to do it the hard way but he’s done well and stayed on at the death. I think he’ll be an exciting horse when he goes over a fence. He’s a big strong horse.”

1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 1f

1 Majborough 6-1

2 Kargese 4-1

3 Salver10-1

12 ran

Distances: 1½, 4¾

Time: 4m 17.52s

10th winner at The Festival for jockey Mark Walsh

101st winner at The Festival for trainer Willie Mullins

77th winner at The Festival for owner JP McManus


Ireland 13

Great Britain 8


Cookie Policy

We use “cookies” to help enhance your experience and improve the functionality of our website. You can find out more in our cookie policy. We also serve cookies, some with chocolate chips, on our racecourses.