Cheltenham week is almost upon us and I am very excited for the best week of the year to start! But first things first, today I am super excited to bring to you an interview the brilliantly talented David Mullins! So without further ado, let’s get straight into it!
Me: Some jockeys go years, or even their whole career without winning the Grand National, how special was it to you to win it at just 19 years old on Rule The World? That must have been such a special day for you and your family.
David: It was a great day and weekend but it was something I didn’t want to rest on and let it be the only thing I’ve done as a jockey, as it has happened to others.
Me: You’ve obviously rode Kemboy very early in his career and won the Savills Chase on him in 2018. The past two runs for him, we would assume, haven’t went as Willie would have liked, how is he working back home? Do you think he will come back stronger for the Gold Cup?
David: I think he will. He’s came forward from his run at Christmas and I think he’ll improve again for this, leaving him in top shape for Cheltenham. Whether he’s good enough or not for the Gold Cup over 3 mile, 2 furlong is something we’ll have to wait and see for… the beauty of racing!
Me: What is your favourite day of the racing calendar?
David: Thyeste days in Gowran Park, my local track. And it literally stops country Kilkenny, you’ll meet every racing fan there.
Me: Growing up around your Uncle Willie’s yard, how important has it been to your career to have someone as good as Ruby Walsh to idolise and look up to, as you have grown into a jockey yourself?
David: Ruby is a great asset to everyone that rode or rides horses. If you’ve sat in the same weighing room as him and haven’t taken a leaf from his book, you’re probably not the smartest jockey.
Me: Do you feel there is any pressure on you, growing up in such a racing family with your cousins and Uncle being such big names within the sport?
David: I feel there probably should be, but no there’s not. Gordon Elliot got me going in bumpers and as a conditional, Gigginstown used me plenty, along with others.
Me: You have already won some incredible races in your career, what is the next goal for you?
David: Cheltenham winner! Wouldn’t class myself as a successful jockey if I didn’t have one Cheltenham winner. I imagine it’s the same for flat jockey’s at Royal Ascot.
Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose?
David: I’d have loved to have been associated with Dawn Run. A lot of people talk about her special times. Hurricane Fly as well because you just couldn’t put him on the floor.
Me: In Willie’s yard there is you, Patrick, Danny and Paul, all for of you are top jockeys, what is the competition like to be on the top horses in the top races? Is there a lot of banter between you to keep each other going? Do you all share the advice and knowledge you all have with each other?
David: Yes, Paul is obviously first and the rest kind of get split up, but there is not much point in trying to figure out what’s happening, Willie is going to do what he feels best anyway. We all share any information, it is a team effort.
Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?
David: I don’t agree with it at all. I believe it to be a persuader, but I think the authorities have let the situation get out of control and I’m afraid it doesn’t look good for it in the future. It’s a backwards step in jockeys safety. I’d feel naked on a horse without one.
Me: You have rode some incredible horses so far in your career, including Min and of course, the legend that is Faugheen. You can tell Rich Ricci loves his horses, how is it riding for him as an owner?
David: Rich is very passionate and gathers a following for all of his horses. It’s great to be a part of it. Very simple to ride for, he leaves it to Willie and his jockey’s.
Me: Following on from that, Faugheen is obviously one of the most loved horses in the sport, just how special is he? What’s it like riding a horse that just has a heart of gold and won’t quit?
David: He’s a legend. I haven’t rode better than Faugheen. Just oozes class! He’s a proper national hunt winter horse
Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?
David: I don’t know anybody in the sport that thinks it’s cruel. People that look as it as cruel, don’t know the sport.
Me: I have to ask you, your Uncle is obviously the legendary trainer Willie Mullins, what is it like working with him? He’s obviously got incredible horses and an incredible record, how special s it to have someone with that sort of experience as not only your trainer, but your Uncle too?
David: Willie is my boss, I don’t think I know anyone who has more attention to detail. Every horse is seen individually by him everyday.
Me: No pressure, but when I asked Richard Johnson his tip of the season, he chose Lostintranslation to win the Betfair Chase, which of course he did, so what is your best of the Cheltenham Festival this year?
David: Paul Townend to be leading rider.
Me: You’re only 23 and already achieved some incredible things, what is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?
David: Don’t be afraid to try something else. You can’t force yourself to like something. This game certainly is not for everyone.
I want to firstly say a massive thank you to David for taking time out of his day to allow me to ask him some questions. Very informative answers and a pleasure to speak to.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to speak with some incredibly talented people from our sport and I really hope you all have enjoyed reading them.
I will see you very soon for my next post!