Uncle sparks Mullins five-timer
Uncle Junior (6-1) saw off Quantitativeeasing in a barnstorming finish to the FBD-sponsored La Touche Cup, sparking a five-timer for trainer Willie Mullins at Punchestown.
Quantitativeeasing was the 13-8 favourite to gain compensation for his luckless run at the Cheltenham Festival where he was carried out in the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase when primed to deliver his challenge.
The market leader moved sweetly throughout under Nina Carberry around the banks circuit, but Patrick Mullins appeared equally confident aboard the 14-year-old Uncle Junior, who finished third at Cheltenham, and the two swept clear to fight it out from the home turn.
There was little to choose between the pair jumping the final fence, after which Quantitativeeasing went a length up, but Uncle Junior roared back bravely to win a thriller by a neck, with Keep On Track third.
Mullins said: "He's some hero in our yard. At 14 to run a race like that is fantastic.
"He always makes one bad mistake and hadn't throughout so I said coming to the last 'here it comes', but he only lost half a length.
"He appreciates the drier ground and the sun on his back. Normally he drops out and it takes three and a half miles for him to warm up, but today after half a mile I was hopeful he'd run a big race.
"You saw Patrick after passing the winning post. He really enjoyed it and he's a fantastic horse to have in the yard.
"There is no talk of retirement as he's in good form and there are those type of races for him. I can't see the point of putting him out in a field as he gets bored.
"A horse like him is entertainment and he certainly gave us entertainment today."
Mullins also landed the Donohue Marquees Handicap Hurdle with 20-1 shot Avant Tout, with Danny Mullins doing the steering.
"I didn't know if he'd handle the ground but he obviously likes it a bit faster," said the trainer.
"Now we have to decide whether to give him the summer off or keep going and maybe go over fences."
After Un De Sceaux landed the Ryanair Novice Chase, Mullins made it four in emphatic fashion in the Orchid Transport Mares Novice Hurdle, as the Paul Townend-ridden Whiteout (8/1) led home a one-two-three for the handler, ahead of Uranna and Lyrical Theatre.
Mullins said: "They don't all have to be big money horses, she was a very modest price. She has been surprising me.
"We were hoping she'd win races but didn't think she'd be coming to Punchestown and it's a pleasant surprise.
"She looks half decent and will hopefully keep improving."
Yorkhill gave Mullins senior his fifth win and Patrick Mullins his second in the saddle with an easy victory in the Kildare Post INH Flat Race.
The 5/4 favourite opened up a commanding lead after the home turn and though OK Corral ate into that lead, Yorkhill was still two and a quarter lengths up at the line.
"Patrick was full of this horse after his last few bits of work," said Mullins.
"He was keen to keep him apart from Bellshill and got his wish so it worked out.
"He's clearly a nice horse. He's been giving Patrick plenty of vibes and I haven't done much with him."