SA Connections’ Joy As Mullins’ Grey Dynamite Blows Field Away!

'What a day!' - Craig Kieswetter

In what has been a terrific purple patch for the Kieswetter family, their 6yo grey package of pure dynamite, Il Etait Temps, who races in a partnership of the Hollywood Syndicate and Barnane Stud, galloped into the history books when scoring a thrilling win over his highly regarded stablemate Gaelic Warrior in the Gr1 Barberstown Castle Novice Chase at Punchestown on Thursday.

“What a day and what a horse. He might be tiny but he has a huge heart. He has enjoyed a remarkable season with three Gr1 victories. Well done to the Hollywood Team in what has been an extraordinary season with this little fella. As always, thank you to Willie and his team, to Danny for a peach of a ride, and of course to Peter, Anna, and Ross Doyle,” a delighted Craig Kieswetter told the Sporting Post after leading in the son of Jukebox Jury in front of a festive crowd at the County Kildare track.

A delighted Craig Kieswetter leads the winner in as Danny Mullins salutes the photographer (Pic – Supplied)

It’s been a sensational week for the Ridgemont/Barnane operation, who enjoyed a feature feast on The Championships Day Finale at Turffontein last Saturday, and a similar special afternoon at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth just 48 hours prior to Il Etait’s Temps’ heroic performance.

It was also an amazing afternoon for veteran trainer Willie Mullins who broke his own world record for the most Gr1 wins in a season when the gallant grey grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat in cavalier fashion as the stable trio went over the final jump.

Enjoy the replay:

Mullins, who will be crowned Ireland’s champion trainer for the 18th time, won a record 34 Gr1’s during the 2015-16 campaign and last week became the first Irish trainer since Vincent O’Brien 70 years ago to win the British jumps championship. Il Etait Temps’ victory also left him just one short of Dermot Weld’s all-time Irish record of 4377 winners.

Gaelic Warrior and Il Etait Temps go head to head! (Pic – Supplied)

The legendary trainer labelled Il Etait Temps an ‘extraordinary horse’.

“He doesn’t look like a big steeplechaser, but he has an engine and jumps well. He’s maturing and learning the whole time. He’s also getting a lot easier to ride. He wears a hood and a tongue-tie, which is just to keep the revs low on him. It’s working and has helped him improve all season. I imagine he could stay in the two-mile division next season on ground that he likes unless we judge that he’s too slow. He never gives up.”

Superstars! (Pic – Supplied)

The accolades flowed as jockey Danny Mullins said that he missed the third-last in a two-mile chase and ‘that usually puts one away’.

“What a tough horse! He came back on the bridle. Once I got a jump at the second-last and the last I was always slightly confident I’d get the better of Paul. Gaelic Warrior sets the standard, he’s been the best around this year, and thankfully we got the better of him. Il Etait Temps could be one to look forward to next season. To be a Champion Chaser you need to have a little bit of stamina and the Aintree victory shows he can get two and a half.”

There was also plenty of support in front of South African television screens, and Hollywood’s Devin Heffer was over the moon, saying that as they galloped into the last hurdle ‘it could have been any of the Mullins’ horses’.

“One can’t make this up! He went eyeball to eyeball with Gaelic Warrior and threw down the hammer when it mattered most. Well done to Willie Mullins and his top team on his remarkable record achievement. We are truly privileged to be a part of this amazing story,” added Heffer.

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