Last November, only two days after Hurricane Fly established himself as the most successful National Hunt horse in the world, we were very lucky to visit the stables of renowned horse trainer Willie Mullins in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.
Upon arrival we were met by Ruby Walsh, fresh from his victory in the Morgiana Hurdle that weekend in Punchestown. He posed for a few photos before heading off to get ready for another race. Ruby has been riding Hurricane Fly for many years now, and is the first to enthuse about the sheer brilliance of this horse.
On our way to the main stables, we were met by the sight we had all been waiting for... The much anticipated chance to see Hurricane Fly. We clambered for the opportunity to take a picture of the horse. Although some of us had an interest in horse racing already, for many it was a new experience, and what a way it was to be plunged into the sport of kings.
On entrance to the main stables, we were met by many of Willie’s other famous horses. The huge, majestic creatures towered over us, with sleek coats and a confident stance. Many of the most famous names in horse racing stood before us, including the very successful Champagne Fever.
After touring the yard and stables, we were brought out to the gallop to experience the vigorous training routine that is given to these champion quality horses. They cantered around the circular track at a steady pace as a warm up routine, and also to serve as a way of seeing what condition they were in that day.
The best part was when the horses did a full pelt around the longer circuit of the track. We all lined up along the final furlong to see the horses coming down, and it was a testament to the skill required by the jockeys to keep these finely tuned racehorses under control at such phenomenal speeds.
We concluded the visit to the world renowned stables with a few group photos with Willie Mullins, his wife Jackie, and probably the best National Hunt jockey in the world, Ruby Walsh. It was a thoroughly enjoyable visit in every aspect.