Ballyburn seals Irish record for Mullins at Punchestown

Willie Mullins became the most successful trainer in Irish racing history as Ballyburn secured his record triumph at the Punchestown Festival.

Ballyburn's run in the Champion Novice Hurdle gave Mullins his 4,378th victory, passing Dermot Weld’s previous mark for wins.

The 1-5 favourite was fending off the charge of Jessica Harrington's Jetara at the last, but would finish strongly to win by three and a quarter lengths.

After breaking the record, Mullins said: "Dermot pioneered going down to Australia and won the Belmont Stakes, an American Triple Crown race.

"He's done superb things, so to be mentioned alongside him is fantastic."

Earlier in the day another Mullins horse, State Man, claimed a 10th Grade One victory in the Champion Hurdle.

After a run of wins that included efforts at the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham this year, the 2-7 favourite made it a perfect five from five this season when coming in ahead of Irish Point for victory.

With just four in the field, it was Irish Point that had the lead turning for home but State Man edged ahead approaching the final flight and the seven-year-old would ultimately win by two lengths.

It was State Man's second consecutive victory in this race and continues a run of 12 wins in the past 13 overall, with the only blemish coming up against Constitution Hill at Cheltenham last year.

"He's a privilege to have anything to do with, he's so simple and he's got a very good engine to go with it," jockey Paul Townend told Racing TV.

"You can do what you like with him. We thought they might press the pace after we beat them for speed at Cheltenham, they had to try something else.

"He's just so straightforward and that's why he's special. I love him. I love when I'm declared on him and go out to ride on him, just the simplicity of it all, leaving the weighing room you can make it up as you go along and he can get you out of trouble when you get it wrong.

"He probably won't get the credit he deserves because he's not exuberant and flashy, but he wins."