National hero Mullins still fond of his home comforts
For last week's Crabbies Grand National-winning jockey David Mullins, the enormity of what he has achieved, so early in his career, on the Mouse Morris-trained 33-1 shot Rule The World at Aintree is only just sinking in.
Given that it took A P McCoy 15 attempts, Richard Johnson still has not won it in 20 and Jonjo O'Neill never even got beyond Becher's second time, it is some feat for a 19-year-old and one that he will appreciate more with every passing National that he does not win.
"I've seen the race only once in its entirety," confessed Mullins, who turned down The Late Late Show on Friday night because he was riding at Ballinrobe, his first since Aintree, before flying to Ayr yesterday.
"I'll probably watch it 100 times next week! I suppose it's beginning to sink in now I'm back to work again." He has been bowled over by the attention it has brought him. "You don't realise the publicity you'll get," he said. "Hopefully, I'll get more rides. I had no idea how many people watched it. Ireland's a small country and everyone knows someone with something to do with horses." Mullins only knew he would be riding Rule The World at 11.30 on the Thursday before the race. "I knew a fortnight before the race I'd be riding one of Mouse's and I was delighted when they said it was Rule The World.
I'd been second on him in an Irish National and third in the Kerry National." Recalling that winning a National was not even a distant dream at the other end of his teens, he explained: "I was a bit lazy. I'd ride the ponies and was mad for hunting. But I never really wanted to ride out for dad [the trainer Tom Mullins]. I used to stay in bed and I remember him telling me once 'that's grand but when you get to 14 you'll never be in this bed past 7.0.'" As for his little brother, Charlie, who was in floods of tears after the race, Mullins said he was saving the video for his 21st.
"It was a big, big day for him," he said. "He was half the size of everyone, the crowd was jumping and roaring around him. He nearly set me off in the winners' enclosure.
"He's even less interested in racing at the same age as me. He's well able to ride and he told me he'd ride the winner when he is 18, a year earlier. But I see his ponies are still out in the field."
Charlie, however, may find he has some ammunition himself. Ten days after moving out of the family home in Kilkenny into an annexe in the garden, David Mullins moved back in with his parents after hearing a mouse scratching above the bedroom ceiling. "It might even have been a crow on the roof but I'm terrified of rats and mice," said the man who braved Becher's and The Chair before adding, like any normal teenager, "and, of course, I get dinner and my clothes washed."