Willie Mullins vs Gordon Elliott – who’s better?

Willie Mullins vs Gordon Elliott – who’s better?

Sports are defined by classic duels, there’s no doubt about it. Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston, Celtic and Rangers’ passion-fuelled rivalry and the history-driven Ashes test series are a few of many. One has been simmering in the National Hunt sphere and it’s finally reaching a thrilling max: Willie Mullins vs Gordon Elliott.

The rivalry kicked into gear just before the 2016/17 season was getting into full swing. A row over training fees led to Michael O’Leary pulling all of his Gigginstown-owned string out of Mullins’ yard, many of his star horses went across the country to Elliott. It was a brutal blow for Mullins, but in turn it created a pulsating duel with two trainers fighting to be the big boy in Ireland. The two dominant forces have split the racing community lines on who is the better trainer. Even the answer isn’t simple: Willie Mullins is the better of the two – for now.

The Closutton-based handler has been the leader of the hegemony ever since his most loyal servant, Rich Ricci, started to really get involved in the game. And while the fight isn’t one-sided anymore for the Irish Champion Trainers’ Crown and his status over Elliott, team Mullins digs in to keep the record intact.

Since the turn of the decade, the records have been tumbling courtesy of Mullins. He mastered the training career of the immortal Hurricane Fly, whom under his guise, became the first horse to regain his Champion Hurdle crown since Comedy of Errors in 1975 and with 22 Grade One victories to his name, the winning-most horse ever at the top level.

It’s a testament to Mullins that he was able to keep ‘The Fly’ at his A-game for so many seasons, and the training brilliance didn’t stop there either. Quevega’s six wins in the Mares’ Hurdle, Vautour’s willingness to peak as a champion on the very big occasion, Douvan’s pulverisation of fields and Faugheen the Machine’s brutal dominance headline a list of many achievements.

What is even more astounding being his ability to train top-level winners in times of strife. Gigginstown’s removal of their string, Vautour’s cruelly-timed death and severe injuries to Faugheen and the side lined Douvan all led to questions of whether the Closutton yard would ever be the same again.

Willie Mullins At Cheltenham

But the yard stuck with their game, firing out championship horses every season and never giving up when it may be easier to. Heading to Punchestown in 2017, it was widely expected Elliott was to be crowned Champion Trainer for that season. Oh, how wrong was everyone. By the final day of the festival, Mullins was in the lead after a supreme week and clung onto his prized possession. The master had taught the apprentice a valuable lesson.

However, Elliott is on the tails of the Closutton yard, and it’ll take a very brave man to bet against him being Champion Trainer in the near future. Despite his 2007 Grand National victory with Silver Birch, his career is only beginning to blossom and with the might of Gigginstown behind him, his resume is seriously impressive.

Alongside Mullins, Elliott holds the record for most winners at a single Cheltenham Festival with eight in 2018. The year previous, he went one better than Mullins and finished as the top trainer at the meeting, and casting back to 2016 and the dominance by Don Cossack, Elliott lifted the most coveted prize, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which still alludes Mullins to this day.

Indeed, Willie Mullins is currently classed as the better trainer out of the duo. He’s done it all, walked the walk and talked the talk in spite of difficult circumstances. But, Elliott is catching him up and is a fantastic trainer in his own right. Racegoers will savour this clash of titans throughout the upcoming decade, and it’ll be no shock in spite of various tussles for titles over time, the crown will belong with Mullins on his pedestal before it transitions over to Elliot.

Free Bets & Offers


😍 Get up to £50 in Free Bets 😍
T&Cs: New users only. Min deposit £20. Place qualifying bets of £20 to £50 in first 7 days after deposit to unlock free bets. Free bet rewarded as 4 free bets that total the first deposit amount. Min odds 1/1 3+ legs & expire in 7 days. Winnings credited in cash. Full T&Cs apply
Claim Bonus
💥 BET £5 ON HORSE RACING & GET £30 IN FREE BETS! 💥
FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 3 X £10 BET TOKENS. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG
Claim Bonus
📲 BET £10 GET £40 AT WILLIAM HILL 📲
New customers who register via mobile only, min £10/€10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4x£10/€10 (30 day expiry), free bet/payment method, player/country restrictions apply
Claim Bonus
🏆 BET £20 & GET YOUR STAKE BACK AS CASH IF YOU LOSE! 🏆
New customers only. Minimum odds 1/5 (1.2). If you place a multiple at least one selection must meet the min odds requirement. Max £20 refund. Only deposits made using Cards or Applepay qualify. Qualifying bet must be placed and settled within 30 days of account opening. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🏆 £20 Risk Free First Bet - Money Back in CASH 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
100% Matched Free Bet up to £10!
New UK customers only. £10 Min Deposit. 100% matched free bet on your first deposit of £10. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bets. Debit Card & Paypal deposits only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Full Terms apply.
Claim Bonus
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
New Customers only. Up to £100* in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5* or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Claim Bonus
When The Fun Stops. Stop.