14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Mullins equals amateur recordHeadlines
Patrick Mullins surges to the front on Union Dues (left)

Patrick Mullins equalled the long-standing record for the number of winners by an amateur jockey in a calendar year in Ireland when Union Dues provided him with his 72nd victory of 2012 at Navan.

Billy Parkinson was the last amateur to ride so many, way back in 1915.

Union Dues, sent off at 3-1, quickened up smartly to beat the odds-on favourite Champagne James in the Irish Form Book 'Future Champions' Flat Race, to provide Mullins' father Willie with a treble on the day.

Mullins jnr, who rode his first winner as a 16-year-old in 2006, said: "It's magic, it's a relief to get it as it would have been a shame to get so close and then not get it.

"I have to admit I've been very surprised the last week or two with people coming up and wishing me luck, it means a lot.

"I ride a horse in a maiden hurdle at Downpatrick on Thursday and he could be the one to break it.

"This lad impressed me the last day when Tony (Mullins) had him, but to be honest I didn't think he'd beat Ted Walsh's horse (Champagne James) as I thought he was more of a good ground horse.

"The gears he showed there it will be all about Cheltenham now."

His father said: "He's been riding fantastic all year and has huge commitment. He thinks his own way through his races. He's hugely dedicated to keep his weight down to what it is and he very seldom makes a mistake."

Stan James make Union Dues the 10-1 joint-favourite for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham with stablemate Clondaw Court. Spokesman Joseph Burke said: "He goes left-handed and, furthermore, he can quicken up a hill. There's a hell of a lot to like about him."

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