Feb, 2024
Saint Sam Heads the Lineup for The RED MILLS Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday

Gowran Park’s RED MILLS Race Day will be an occasion of heightened emotions for the Mullins family and champion trainer Willie Mullins will be looking to mark it in style as he saddles Saint Sam in a bid to win the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase for an eighth time on Saturday.

In the week of the passing of Maureen Mullins, the matriarch of the legendary clan will be to the forefront of everyone’s minds given how often she graced the winner’s enclosure with her late husband Paddy and subsequently, her children and grandchildren.

Indeed, the 94-year-old performed the official duties of opening Gowran Park’s brand new weigh room just last month.


Owned by Edward Ware, Saint Sam is the highest rated contestant in a field of five for the two-and-a-half-mile Red Mills Chase with a mark of 159. The seven-year-old, attempting to join a roll of honour that includes Micko’s Dream, Rathgar Beau, Watson Lake, Rubi Light, Champagne Fever, Monalee and Melon, hasn’t been seen since falling at the last while leading at Listowel last September but had made an impressive start to his chasing career prior to that, dotting up in all three outings at Tramore, Killarney and Galway prior to the Listowel blip. He will be ridden by Paul Townend, who is attempting to claim the spoils in this illustrious contest for a fourth time.



Saint Sam has four rivals for the €22,125 victor’s pot, with Riviere D’etel a notable contender, six days after finishing runner-up to Allegorie De Vassy in the Listed Opera Hat Chase over two miles at Naas.

She is one of two representatives for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy maintains the partnership, with Sam Ewing getting the leg up on Gigginstown’s Foxrock Handicap Chase winner Embittered.

“Riviere D’etel is going right-handed, which she certainly enjoys. I would say this trip is probably more her thing than last weekend too. She has come out of the race very well and we are very happy with her.



Embittered struggled a bit in high-class handicaps the last twice but he won nicely in Navan before Christmas. It was a quality effort. He’s got a bit to do on ratings but the trip is right and he’s in good shape and hopefully he gives a good account of himself.”

The field is completed by John Ryan’s progressive Group 3-placed mare Lucid Dreams, who will be ridden by one of Maureen Mullins’ ultra successful grandchildren Danny Mullins, while Donagh Meyler partners the Keith Watson-trained Ivar The Boneless.


The RED MILLS Trial Hurdle

The RED MILLS Trial Hurdle has been won by such equine luminaries as Danoli, Hardy Eustace, Macs Joy, Solwhit and Un De Sceaux, while Teahupoo and Fil Dor are the most recent victors and What’s Up Darling is tasked with providing Gordon Elliott with a third straight triumph in the Grade 3 contest. The seven-year-old has been off the track for three months since running well in Grade 1 company, finishing less than seven lengths behind stablemate Farren Glory in fifth at Fairyhouse at the beginning of December.

“What’s Up Darling had a little break after the Royal Bond and has come back in good order. He would prefer less testing ground than he’s going to get but this looks a nice spot for him to kick off his Spring campaign.”

Lantry Lady is an intriguing runner for Henry De Bromhead, after sauntering to a 14 length success on debut at this course 11 months ago over the minimum trip. From the same family as Champion Hurdle heroine Annie Power, the six-year-old steps up half a mile now but it is notable that she is being set this examination after such a lengthy absence. Rachael Blackmore is on board.


Dreamings Free (John O’Neill/JJ Slevin), Doyen To Win (Declan Queally/Kevin Sexton) and Kevin Heffernan’s last-time-out handicap winner Brilliant Question (Robbie Geoghegan) are the remaining three players.

Tom Mullins also saddles a runner on the day, with Jack Foley getting the leg up on Tucson Train in the Full Circle Series Qualifier Handicap Hurdle, while champion QR Patrick Mullins will be on board Flashaway, daughter of brilliant race mare Voler La Vedette, in the concluding Ronan Lawlor Memorial Irish EBF Mares’ Flat Race.

Gordon Elliott paid tribute to the late Mrs Mullins; “RED MILLS Day would have been traditionally a big day in the calendar in Gowran and it’s always a great day. This year it will have an altogether different feel to it following the passing of Mrs Mullins, who was such an amazing woman and an iconic figure.”

Gareth Connolly CEO of Connolly’s RED MILLS Said; “RED MILLS Day is always a huge event for our local community and a day that celebrates our long-standing tradition of race sponsorship and our valued relationship with Gowran Park Racecourse. This year’s renewal will be an emotional one as we remember Maureen Mullins former Director and current shareholder at Gowran Park who passed away this week. Mrs Mullins was one of the most familiar faces at Gowran Park and racecourses all over the country and her legacy will continue to be felt for generations to come. We at Connolly’s RED MILLS and the team at Gowran Park extend our heartfelt sympathies to Mrs Mullins family and friends and remember her at this time.