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Mullins returns to form as Mulholland hits a flat spot

There have been contrasting fortunes this past six weeks in the nascent stages of a new Jumps season for two of the county's trainers.

Seamus Mullins' horses have been running into form, following a trappy few seasons when his strike rate has been below par. This is a stable that excels around the smaller tracks, notably Plumpton, and during the summer months. The racing may not be remarkable by the standards of Saturdays in peak season, but meetings are well attended and supported. There's most definitely a place for summer jump racing: be in no doubt even if you are a purist.

May and June are fertile months for the yard in Willsford, not far from Larkhill. Taking a five year average that excludes 2020 when racing didn't restart post pandemic until July, the months of May and June bring a tally of 8 winners in May and June. With four already under his belt, and plenty of placed runners, Mullins is well placed to up his game. His last 10 runners have notched 34316P2213, the most recent being Tommie Beau, a handicap chase winner under new Philip Hobbs first jockey Micheal Nolan at Stratford last Saturday.

Contrast this with the bellwether of west Wiltshire, Neil Mulholland. With just 2 winners from 74 runners so far these past 2 months, it's been a frustrating period for the likeable Mulholland, who trains from Conkley Grange outside Bath. Mulholland's horses have been hitting the bar a fair bit, but falling short of winning. Contrast the two to date in May/June with 16 in the corresponding period in 2022, and 11 the previous year.

Mulholland admitted the yard was out of form when the stewards enquired into his second winner at Uttoxeter earlier this week. Green Or Black was a welcome winner in a mares race after a winter spent in the Point-to-Point field. This didn't reap much of a reward. Three unfinished races and a 35l fourth in a Conditions race at Dunsmore last November are no great indication of latent talent.

Winners have also been hard to come by for the county's leading yard. Barbury is geared up for the flat at this time of year, but the yard has managed just a juvenile hurdle winner at Hexham in the past nearly 3 weeks. Let's hope form returns before the run of festival meetings in mid summer.

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