'It’s getting on the right horses and getting the luck. You couldn’t make it up, could you?'
The 39-year-old announced his intention to retire on Thursday, nominating Mullins’ charge as his farewell ride in the world’s most famous steeplechase.
Sent off at 50-1, few would have expected Noble Yeats to strike in the extended four-and-a-quarter-mile showpiece – but he ran a magnificent race as he fended off the 15-2 favourite Any Second Now for a famous National success. Delta Work (10-1) was third with Santini (33-1) in fourth.
Coming to the last they were the only pair in contention and under a strong drive, Noble Yeats kept finding more to prevail in the colours of Waley-Cohen’s father, Robert.
Talking to ITV Racing, Waley-Cohen said: “It’s a dream. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve got to say thank you, as it’s my last ever ride, to my dad (Robert Waley-Cohen, owner), for unwavering belief and love.
“Over 23 years and never a cross word, never been anything but a dream. It’s been a love affair. To my wife, long-suffering, they aren’t all good days, there are bad days in this sport.”
“It’s a fairytale, a fantasy. There’s a lot of love and gratefulness,” Waley-Cohen continued.
“It’s getting on the right horses and getting the luck. You couldn’t make it up, could you?”
Mullins was delighted with his triumph, as he claimed one of the biggest prizes in racing.
“It was a long-term plan and it seems to have come off in the end somehow, I don’t know how,” said the Carlow-based trainer.
“We were probably more confident a month ago. The closer we got to it, everyone else seemed to be talking up their chances and we went cold.
“The form behind Ahoy Senor, a Grade One winner yesterday, that was a great run at Wetherby and the performance there (gave us confidence).”