Good ground leaves Mullins purring ahead of Handicap Chase

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Willie Mullins is finding it very difficult to choose between Uncle Junior and Scotsirish in tomorrow’s Glenfarclas Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

Uncle Junior was victorious over the Prestbury Park cross-country fences in November, but it is Scotsirish who heads the betting having looked the likely winner when carried on to the wrong course in December.

He also subsequently won over the banks at Punchestown and the Irish champion trainer is just keeping his fingers crossed one can emerge triumphant.

“They both know their way around here and the ground shouldn’t be a factor as they are both good ground horses, so we’re happy enough,” said Mullins.

“It’s hard to choose between them. The trip will really suit Uncle Junior, but Scotsirish looked to have plenty left the last day here when they were carried wide.

“I can’t split them really. I’m only hoping one of them wins.”

Henry de Bromhead’s Sizing Australia is the defending champion and his rider Andrew Lynch hopes a return to Cheltenham will bring out the best in him.

“When he gets to Cheltenham around that course, he’s just a different horse,” said Lynch.

“He’s been placed nearly every time he’s run there. He has a tremendous record around there and it was a good run in Naas last time.

“He’s going in the right direction. There’s plenty you have to respect in there, though. It was quick enough there last year and he handled it better than most.”

Cross-country king Enda Bolger relies on the 13-year-old Garde Champetre, a six-time winner over these unique obstacles.
Also featuring among the 16 runners are previous winner A New Story, Balthazar King and Maljimar.

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