Saturday 22 July 2017

WATCH: 'Maybe, it's all a load of b******s' - Willie Mullins reveals the secrets to Nichols Canyon's success

Jockey Ruby Walsh and Trainer Willie Mullins collect the trophy and celebrate their victory in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 16, 2017.
Jockey Ruby Walsh and Trainer Willie Mullins collect the trophy and celebrate their victory in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 16, 2017.
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

What a difference 24 hours makes. At this time yesterday, Willie Mullins was digesting Douvan's defeat but now he's a winner of the Stayer's Hurdle for the first time.

After the confidence boost of watching Yorkhill stamp his authority in the JLT and Un De Sceaux win his Ryanair after a round of extravagant jumping, Mullins was surprised to see Nichols Canyon bounding up the hill to claim the honours in the feature race on Day Three.

He told owner Graham Wylie that this horse would be the next Inglis Drever when he bought him, but this was only his second attempt at three miles.

The multiple Grade One-winning seven-year-old has had a few changes to his routine back at Closutton but Mullins isn't sure whether they are the reason behind this stunning success.

"My wife Jackie suggested that we change the rider, so we put up Maite, a French girl we have. We were wondering could she ride him because he's a tough ride," he said.

"We put her on and the first morning he was grand and then we changed his stable.

"In the barn he was in, he was always quite relaxed in his stable. We put him in another stable out in the front yard and everyday he was out over the stable door taking an interest in everything.

"It just seems to have given him a different perspective on life.

"Maybe... It's all a load of bollocks and we have been running him over the wrong trip the whole time."

Nichols Canyon is normally ridden close to the pace but Ruby Walsh deployed different tactics today and they worked

"I didn't have any massive plan. When I was walking back up (after the parade), I looked up at the big screen and Unowhatimeanharry was 10/11. So, I thought let's follow him, he's surely going to bring me to the right places. So, I lined up behind Noel Fehily and away we went."

After being 10/1 to be leading jockey at the Festival yesterday evening, Walsh was wearing the pink armband to signify the leader in the race for that accolade during the press conference after a simply stunning afternoon of riding.

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