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Mullins labels nephew David 'a natural' while backing his decision to retire

Willie Mullins with nephew David after he rode Al Boum Photo to victory at Fairyhouse in 2018
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Willie Mullins has backed his nephew David's decision to retire from the saddle aged just 24 and singled out the Grand National-winning jockey's natural instinct as the defining feature of his short but hugely successful riding career. 

David Mullins, son of the champion trainer's brother Tom, enjoyed some of his best days on the racecourse when teaming up with the perennial title-holder.

From the day he stole the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown as a 19-year-old aboard Nichols Canyon, recording a breakthrough top-flight success and inflicting a first defeat on Faugheen, Mullins remained high in the pecking order at Closutton.

He rode more than 300 times for Willie, including nine Grade 1s, the best of which was saved until last, according to the champion 

Kemboy: a big winner for David Mullins

Mullins said: "David was a gifted rider. He had very good hands and rode with pure natural instinct.

"It was a great decision by David to retire. He obviously thought long and hard about it and had a great career.

"He has decided that he wants to go into bloodstock and has the pedigree to be successful on both sides of his family, being a grandson of Seamus Hughes and nephew of Marion Hughes, a renowned international showjumper and horsewoman. He should be a natural at picking out young horses."

He added: "From an early stage, David showed me that he rode with natural instinct, no more so when he stole the Morgiana Hurdle aboard Nichols Canyon.

"Kemboy's victory in the Savills Chase last season was probably his biggest for me, and he showed once again that he wasn't afraid to trust his instincts that day, winning on his own conviction.

"He did what he wanted on a horse if he felt it was the right thing to do, which ultimately resulted in him winning the Savills Chase. When he was in full flow he got lengths out of horses jumping fences."

Watch: David Mullins records his biggest success for his uncle aboard Kemboy in the 2018 Savills Chase

While David Mullins stated that the horror fall he suffered at Thurles in October 2019 had no bearing on his decision when breaking the news to the Racing Post on Wednesday, Willie shared his surprise that he was able to return as a professional to begin with. 

Explaining about how he learned of his nephew's decision to retire, Mullins said: "He came down off Blackbow the other day at Naas and came back out afterwards to me to tell me he was calling it a day. It was a good decision because, when you decide to do something, it's good to do it.

"He had a very bad fall at Thurles and it takes a rider a while to come back from something like that, but obviously David wasn't happy. I was mildly surprised that he came back to ride as a professional after that fall at Thurles. It was a brave decision to come back from that."

More on David Mullins' retirement:

Grand National-winning rider David Mullins quits the saddle aged just 24

'I thought David was destined for the top after National triumph' – Mouse Morris (Members' Club)

From Grand National glory to angering his uncle – David Mullins' top five rides

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It was a good decision because, when you decide to do something, it's good to do it
E.W. Terms