Great Britain

Top amateur jockey Patrick Mullins will MISS Cheltenham Festival after deciding against turning professional

The Sun

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PATRICK Mullins will miss this year’s Cheltenham Festival after deciding against turning professional.

Amateur jockeys have unable to ride under Rules in Britain since January due to Covid-19 restrictions.

They will not be allowed to return until at least March 29, in line with the Government’s planned resumption of grassroots sports.

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Mullins, the most successful amateur of all-time, was slated to have an unbelievably strong book of rides for his father Willie.

But he will now miss out on Sharjah in the Champion Hurdle, Kilcruit in the Champion Bumper and Billaway in the Hunter Chase.

The four-time Festival-winning rider had hope to take out a temporary professional licence, allowing him to ride at the Festival.

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But the minimum term he would have to ride as a professional is 12 months.

Following talks with Irish racing chiefs, he has decided to retain his amateur status.

Mullins said: “I’d have to hold a professional licence for one year and that’s not what I wanted to do.

"What I wanted to do was ride as a professional until the end of the season and take six months off, which used to be the old rule, in order to come back and be an amateur but they didn’t bite.”

Willie Mullins is expected to have a successful Festival, with or without his son to assist him in the saddle.

The leading trainer saddles favourites in half of the 28 races, including dual Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo.

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