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Mullins clinches his first ever UK trainers’ title

Willie Mullins has become the first trainer based in Ireland to win the UK Jumps Trainers Championship since Vincent O’Brien in 1954.

It’s also the first time since the 2004/05 season that neither Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson has been the champion.

Mullins sealed the title after El Fabiolo finished second in the Celebration Chase at Sandown.

In the race itself Jonbon emerged a convincing victor in his long-awaited clash with El Fabiolo.

The pair had initially been due to meet in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot back in January only to be scuppered by the weather, while a possible Queen Mother Champion Chase face-off did not happen as Jonbon was ruled out by trainer Nicky Henderson during a tough period when his stable was under a cloud.

However, the Seven Barrows team has been resurgent in recent weeks with Jonbon quickly back in action after a hard-fought win when stepped up to two and a half miles in the Melling Chase at Aintree earlier this month.

Ridden with supreme confidence by Nico de Boinville, Jonbon (15-8) was to the fore from the off, putting in some extravagant leaps and turning for home firmly in command.

He fairly flew up the straight, clearing the last with a good advantage and galloped home four lengths in front of the 4-6 favourite El Fabiolo, who made a couple of jumping errors as he failed to atone for a costly mistake at Cheltenham that had seen him pulled up in the Champion Chase.

And El Fabiolo’s second place prize-money ensured Mullins was crowned champion trainer.

Additional reporting: PA

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