Willie Mullins is the 15-8 second-favourite with William Hill to be top trainer award at the Cheltenham Festival, a title he landed for the first time in 2011.
Wins for Hurricane Fly, Quevega, Final Approach and Sir Des Champs saw the Irish handler finish ahead of Paul Nicholls in the leading trainer standings. Hills are keeping Mullins on side after he was supported down from as big as 13-2 last season.
William Hill spokeswoman Lucy Rhodes said: “We foolishly underestimated Willie Mullins last year and will certainly be taking no chances over the defending champion this time around. However, this looks one of the most competitive title-races seen for as long as we can remember.”
Nicky Henderson, who won the award in 2010, is William Hill’s 7-4 favourite while Nicholls, who has been crowned top trainer at Cheltenham six times, is available at 2-1.
Hills have also opened their market for top jockey, which is headed by Ruby Walsh at 8-11.