WILLIE MULLINS says a horror fall in 2019 was a big factor in David Mullins' shock decision to retire.
The top trainer, who is the former jockey's uncle, reckons a nasty incident which left his nephew unable 'to feel his legs' tipped him over the edge.
David Mullins, 24, shot to fame when steering 33-1 shot Rule The World to victory in the Grand National at Aintree five years ago when still a teenager.
He went on to win multiple Grade 1 races, including aboard the likes of Faugheen and Kemboy.
But in October 2019, he suffered a crunching fall on Lean And Kean at Thurles, leaving him with a broken back.
And Mullins revealed that he was shocked by his nephew's decision, which came immediately after he rode Blackbow to third place at Naas last week.
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Mullins said: “It was a surprise in the moment. He just got down off the horse and said he was finished, that was the term he used.
"I initially thought he meant he was finished for the day, but then it dawned on me that he was retiring.
“He had a horrific accident in Thurles, and I think he did well to come back from that. He had another bad fall afterwards; I know he said he couldn’t feel his legs after it.
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"When something like that happens, it makes you weigh up where you’re going in life.
"He’s fit a lot into his riding career and has a very good resume, he’s won more big races than a lot of guys have done."
And Willie threw his support behind David's decision to call time on a short but successful career.
He continued: “I think it’s a good decision once he’d made up his mind. He obviously wasn’t enjoying the riding. David is instinctively a very good rider.
"He has a very good pair of hands and is able to get horses to jump and gain lengths.
“He would have been in a position to take over as first jockey here one day, but once it was in his mind that he didn’t want to do it any more, I think it’s the right decision, and I think he’s very happy now he’s made it.
"We wish him all the best.”
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