Saint Sam was a poignant winner of the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park for Willie Mullins.

Maureen Mullins died at the age of 94 earlier this week and the wife of legendary trainer Paddy and mother of perennial champion Willie was a former director at the track.

Saint Sam, having his first run of the campaign, never saw another rival in the hands of Paul Townend as the 10-11 favourite beat Riviere D’etel by eight and a half lengths.

“Granny would have enjoyed that and it’s a pity that she’s not here to be in the (winning) picture,” said Patrick Mullins, who is assistant to his father.

“It was a great performance and great to have the owners Ed and Mary Ware here.

“The Red Mills Chase was one of the races we pinpointed at the start of the year.

“Small fields suit him – he likes to get on with things and wears the hood. He’s hot and we were a bit worried that he’d be a bit fresh on his first run and do too much on the heavy ground.

“Paul got a few breathers into him.

“Those Grade Twos or Grade Threes are where he’s most comfortable and he could go to Fairyhouse.

“He is a better chaser than he was a hurdler and loves jumping.”

Lantry Lady (13-8) looks a smart mare for the future as she maintained her unbeaten record in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle.

Gone are the days the race is seen as a Champion Hurdle Trial won by the likes of Hardy Eustace, Macs Joy and Danoli but for a mare the Grade Three black type will prove very valuable indeed.

Trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore, she had won her only previous race, also at Gowran, by a wide-margin in testing ground.

Doyen Ta Win tried to make all but was beaten three out which left just Gordon Elliott’s What’s Up Darling as the only rival left but he found the receipt of a stone too much and there was almost 10 lengths between them at the line.

“She’s obviously a really nice mare and I’m delighted for the Marigas (owners) who are great supporters of ours,” said De Bromhead.

“She was impressive here last year in her maiden hurdle and then we put her away as she was a bit immature.

“She’s just had a couple of niggles so it’s taken us a while to get her going again. I was concerned about fitness and it was only her second run.

“She’s confirmed what she did in her maiden hurdle and stepped forward again. She’s a lovely mare to go breeding with in years to come.”

As for future plans he said: “She’s entered in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and we’d love to go. It’s a step up in trip, but she would strike us at home as all she does is stay.

“I’d say she definitely wants a good ease in the ground so we would be cautious of that.

“The guys would love to go to Cheltenham and I think she is entitled to.”

Maureen Mullins, matriarch of the famous Irish racing family, has died aged 94.

Wife of multiple champion trainer Paddy Mullins, who died in 2010, Maureen Mullins was the mother of trainer Willie, fellow Grade One-winning handlers Tony and Tom, renowned horse transporter George and daughter Sandra – all of who were victorious in the saddle.

She was also a winning rider herself, steering Razzo Forte to glory in a female riders’ event at Gowran Park in 1982, a race which her daughter also rode in.

Her grandchildren include record-breaking amateur rider Patrick, multiple Grade One-winner Danny, and David, who rode Rule The World to win the 2016 Grand National.

Grandsons Charlie and Emmet have also ridden winners while the latter trained a Grand National victor in 2022 Aintree hero Noble Yeats, underlining the family’s incredible influence on National Hunt racing.

Danny Mullins posted on X (formerly Twitter): “What a woman, such an inspiration. RIP.”

She was involved as an owner and breeder down the years, with Kilcruit a recent feather in her cap having won the Grade One Punchestown bumper following his sale having initially raced in her colours.

The British Horseracing Authority paid tribute to her “tremendous passion for the sport”, saying: “All of us at the BHA are saddened to learn of the passing of Maureen Mullins. We extend our condolences to the Mullins family today.

“Maureen Mullins had a tremendous passion for the sport to which she gave so much and her legacy will continue to be felt for generations to come.”

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