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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Junior keeps cross-country crownHeadlines
Uncle Junior on his way to victory in the cross-country race

Uncle Junior shrugged off an early scare to claim back-to-back victories in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham.

Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by his son Patrick, the 9-2 shot was chasing the leaders through the early stages and was lucky to survive a hairy leap at one of the larger obstacles.

However, he was quickly back on the bridle and threw down his challenge to leader and favourite Balthazar King some way out in the three-mile-seven-furlong contest before getting firmly on top at the last and sprinting clear to win by 11 lengths. Outlaw Pete finished third.

Jackie Mullins, wife of trainer Willie, said: "Patrick won here on him last season, he loves it here. He's run over in France and ran in the Pardubicka three weeks ago, so we're thrilled.

"Willie was wondering whether to run him or wait for the race in December, but he said we'd bring him and it worked. I don't know what the difference was between his last race and this, he just loves it here maybe."

Patrick Mullins said of the bad mistake: "I probably made it look worse than it was. I get a kick out of riding in these races."

Buck Magic (7-1) made a successful debut after moving from Keiran Burke to Neil Mulholland when battling home in the Irish Times Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

"He'll go chasing now," said Mulholland.

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