Willie Mullins aims to bring Melbourne Cup 'back home'

    (CNN)In October, 1849, a gifted Irish horseman called George Watson left his home in County Carlow and, with a pack of hounds for company, set out on a four-month voyage to Australia, never to return.

    Melbourne was his destination and he would call the city home for the remaining 56 years of his life, during which he made a lasting impact on the world of horse racing.
    With the help of the hounds, Watson quickly established the Melbourne Hunt Club and enjoyed great success as a racehorse breeder, trainer and amateur rider in the state of Victoria.
        George Watson depicted on white horse in "The Cup of 1862", 1863, by Frederick Woodhouse Senior

        Prince of starters

        He was a founding member of the Victoria Racing Club and part of the original committee that dreamt up the idea of the Melbourne Cup, the race that continues to stop a nation every year on the first Tuesday of November.
        Known as the "prince of starters," it was actually Watson -- wearing a striped jacket, waistcoat and shiny top hat -- who waved his flag to get the inaugural Cup underway at Flemington Racecourse in November, 1861.
          George Watson (left) died in 1906 and his son Godfrey Watson (right) replaced him as starter
          Fast-forward 156 years and another Irishman is making the journey from County Carlow to Melbourne -- albeit a much quicker one -- looking to leave his own mark on the race, which now boasts a purse of $4.8 million.
          "I am always joking with the lads around here that I'm going to bring it back home to Carlow," Willie Mullins -- one of the world's top racehorse trainers -- told CNN Sport.
          Mullins (right) has been crowned Irish national hunt champion trainer 11 times

          One day maybe

          Speaking on the phone from his yard which is based just four miles "as the crow flies" from the house that Watson was born in, Mullins is aiming to become the first Irish trainer to win the Cup since Dermot Weld, who won it twice in 1993 and 2002.
          "It would be a huge achievement for any Irish trainer," adds Mullins. "We're primarily a jumps yards so it would be a huge achievement for our establishment to win it given the few horses that we have that can compete at that level on the flat.
          "The international traveling is a huge thing. To go halfway across the world, to try and have your horse right. We would consider it a huge achievement altogether. One day maybe."