Tag Archive for: Klassical Dream

Klassical Dream continues Festival prep with Galmoy trip

Klassical Dream takes his next step on the road to the Cheltenham Festival in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park on Thursday.

The 2019 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hero returned from almost a year and a half on the sidelines with a brilliant display on his first start over three miles at Punchestown last spring.

And having got the better of Stayers’ Hurdle winner Flooring Porter at Leopardstown last month, the Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old is favourite to take his crown at Prestbury Park in March.

Klassical Dream must first come through Thursday’s Grade Two assignment, however, where he will have to concede weight all round under Paul Townend.

“I’m definitely looking forward to riding him. Every day you get a leg up on something that is favourite for Cheltenham is exciting,” said the champion jockey.

“He backed up his run in Punchestown in Leopardstown the last day, and more of that would be nice.”

The biggest threat to Klassical Dream appears to be Peter Fahey’s high-class mare Royal Kahala.

She too is warming up for Cheltenham, where the Mares’ Hurdle is her main target.

Royal Kahala on her way to victory at Leopardstown
Royal Kahala on her way to victory at Leopardstown (Donall Farmer/PA)

The daughter of Flemensfirth was last seen beating Cheltenham winner Heaven Help Us to Grade Three honours over the Christmas period and Fahey is well aware she has more on her plate at Gowran.

He said: “We wanted to get another run into her (before Cheltenham) and the step up in trip will probably be no harm to her either.

“It’s a very competitive race, but she’s in great form and hopefully she’ll run well.

“Willie’s horse won’t be easy to beat, but if she can finish second it would be a great run for her.

“The timing of the race is perfect as she can then go straight to Cheltenham. Hopefully she runs well and jumps well.”

Other contenders include Gentlemansgame, trained by Mouse Morris, and last year’s Grand National third Any Second Now from Ted Walsh’s yard.

Klassical Dream and Flooring Porter in the mix for Stayers’ Hurdle rematch

Last year’s winner Flooring Porter and his recent Leopardstown conqueror Klassical Dream are among 33 entries for the Paddy Powers Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Flooring Porter made every yard of the running to claim Festival glory last March for Gavin Cromwell and Danny Mullins.

He had to make do with the runner-up spot behind the Willie Mullins-trained Klassical Dream in last month’s Christmas Hurdle and a rematch is likely to be on the cards in the Cotswolds.

Cromwell could also saddle Darver Star, while Closutton handler Mullins has seven contenders in total, with Asterion Forlonge and Melon both given the option of switching back to the smaller obstacles.

Asterion Forlonge fell at the final fence when seemingly booked for second behind stablemate Tornado Flyer in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Nicky Henderson has entered the JP McManus-owned pair of Buveur D’Air and Champ.

Dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air has been off the track since finishing fourth in the Aintree Hurdle last spring, while Champ successfully reverted to hurdles in the Long Walk at Ascot last month.

Champ has the option of returning to fences for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Henderson planning to make a decision on his Festival target nearer the time.

He said: “Champ has a Gold Cup and a Stayers’ Hurdle entry. It is a very difficult one to juggle and one we haven’t got to at this particular moment.

“No doubt, the most straightforward is the hurdles route, but on the other hand he has won an RSA.

“You can forget about the Gold Cup last year. He had a problem but we’ve ironed that out. The balls are up in the air.

“Ante-post markets have to be respected, but I can’t make decisions just to help things on that score.

“He is in both and they are both mega prizes. The Gold Cup is the blue riband, but the Stayers’ Hurdle isn’t bad either.”

Nicky Henderson with Buveur D'Air
Nicky Henderson with Buveur D’Air (Steven Paston/PA)

Of Buveur D’Air, who has also been entered for the Champion Hurdle, he added: “We’ve put him in the Stayers’ Hurdle as well as his run over two-and-a-half at Aintree was a staggeringly good run.

“He tanked through the race and he got there too soon as his lead horse went over at the last on the far side.

“That left him with no cover and he tanked off. He was having such good fun. He showed us that day there is all sorts of life left in him.”

Thyme Hill, who was just under two lengths behind Champ when second in the Long Walk, is a likely runner for Philip Hobbs.

Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park and the Rebecca Curtis-trained Lisnagar Oscar, who won the Stayers’ Hurdle in 2019 and 2020 respectively, also feature.

Willie Mullins is responsible for eight of 28 initial entries for the Close Brothers’ Mares’ Hurdle.

Ireland’s perennial champion trainer has saddled nine previous winners of the Grade One contest, with six of those victories provided by the brilliant Quevega.

Mullins appears intent on adding to his tally, with recent Relkeel Hurdle winner Stormy Ireland and Burning Victory, a former winner of the Triumph Hurdle, two of his leading hopes.

Telmesomethinggirl won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival and could return for Henry de Bromhead, with Peter Fahey’s Royal Kahala and Paul Hennessy’s Heaven Help Us other major players for Ireland.

Klassical delivers Dream performance in Christmas Hurdle

Klassical Dream ran the opposition into the ground under an inspired ride from Paul Townend to win the Dornan Engineering Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Townend stole a march on his rivals at the start when taking at least out six lengths out of the field.

Only Danny Mullins, riding last year’s winner Flooring Porter, tried to cover the move and roust his mount into second place behind the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old.

Klassical Dream, having his first race since winning Punchestown’s Stayers Hurdle in April, settled into a handy lead with Flooring Porter well clear of the others.

Try as he might, Flooring Porter could not mount a serious challenge to Klassical Dream (7-4 favourite), who kept on gamely to land the Grade One spoils by two lengths. Burning Victory was 21 lengths away in third place.

Klassical Dream was cut to 2-1 favourite from 7-2 for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Coral and 11-4 from 4-1 with Paddy Power and Betfair.

Mullins admitted the race had not panned out as anticipated.

Klassical Dream and jockey Paul Townend
Klassical Dream and jockey Paul Townend (Donall Farmer/PA)

He said: “It wasn’t part of the plan, we were expecting pace in the race but obviously it wasn’t there. Paul said the horse took the initiative, jumped out the gate and went.

“I said to Paul ‘you were doing well taking a breather in front’ but he said ‘it wasn’t me, it was the horse taking breathers’ and when Danny would come he would go on.

“The horse took over and did everything.

“He is hard to train, he has huge ability but doesn’t always give you confidence when he works. I was only hoping that things would come right today when he came here and it did.

“That’s better than horses that work the house down at home and go to the racecourse and don’t do it. He’s just the opposite but we’re getting to know him a lot more now and we trust him.”

When asked if he could go straight to the Stayers’ Hurdle, Mullins added “It’s a possibility he could do that, but we haven’t made any decision yet.

“I think with the race under his belt we’d have a lot more confidence in him. While he was doing everything all right at home, he didn’t show us the sparkle that he shows on the racetrack.

“He has that under his belt and we’re very happy now that we probably don’t have to go to the well again before Cheltenham.”

Flooring Porter and Klassical Dream clash in Christmas Hurdle

Gavin Cromwell reports Flooring Porter to be in rude health ahead of his bid for back-to-back victories in the Dornan Engineering Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

The six-year-old was something of a surprise winner when breaking through at Grade One level in this race 12 months ago, but went on to prove the victory was no fluke by following up in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

He looked the most likely winner of the Lismullen Hurdle on his seasonal reappearance at Navan last month before falling two flights from home.

And with King George-winning jockey Danny Mullins in the saddle, Cromwell is expecting another bold showing from his stable star on Tuesday.

“He’s in great nick. He came out none the worse from his fall in Navan and we’ve been very happy with him since,” said the County Meath-based trainer.

“He obviously won this race last year, so we know he likes Leopardstown.

“It’s a strong race, but please God he’ll run well again.”

The biggest threat to Flooring Porter appears to be Klassical Dream, who returned from almost a year and a half of the sidelines with a runaway success at Punchestown under Patrick Mullins in the spring.

Patrick Mullins and Klassical Dream after winning at Leopardstown
Patrick Mullins and Klassical Dream after winning at Leopardstown (Brian Lawless/PA)

The 2019 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hero is one of four runners for Willie Mullins along with Saldier, Burning Victory and the long-absent Mr Adjudicator.

Of Klassical Dream, Mullins junior said: “He’s in good form at home, his performance at Punchestown was breathtaking.

“We’re very happy with him so we’re hoping he can reproduce that Punchestown form.

“He was actually ready to run at this meeting last year in a beginners’ chase, he was declared and everything but he had a small setback and he went back hurdling.

“Even though he had a long lay-off, he was in training for a lot of it so freshness isn’t a concern.”

Gordon Elliott saddles Hatton’s Grace third Abacadabras, Lismullen Hurdle second and third Sire Du Berlais and Grand Roi and recent Navan winner Commander Of Fleet.

Matthew Smith’s Ronald Pump finished second in the Hatton’s Grace, but needs to bounce back from a disappointing run in the Long Walk at Ascot less than a fortnight ago.

Smith said: “He seems in good old order. He was just too keen in the blinkers in Ascot, so we’ve taken them off and we’ll give it a go.

“It’s a good race. Klassical Dream was very impressive in Punchestown and you’ve got Flooring Porter in there as well, but if our horse runs up to his best form he should run a good race.”

Sams Profile, trained by Mouse Morris, completes the line-up.

Mullins hopes to have Klassical Dream ready for Hatton’s Grace

Klassical Dream is part of a strong team Willie Mullins is readying to take on Honeysuckle in this month’s Baroneracing.com Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

Honeysuckle will be a hot favourite to follow in the hoofprints of two other brilliant mares in Solerina and Apple’s Jade by becoming a three-time winner of Winter Festival feature on November 28.

But Mullins, who has previously won the Hatton’s Grace with Hurricane Fly (2010), Zaidpour (2012) and Arctic Fire (2015), is keen to ensure Henry de Bromhead’s superstar does not have it all her own way.

Injuries have restricted Klassical Dream to just a handful of starts since claiming Cheltenham Festival glory in the 2019 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

However, he proved his ability remains very much intact when making a spectacular return from 487 days on the sidelines in the Champion Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in April.

Mullins said on Thursday: “Klassical Dream is in good form and worked nicely this morning.

“It was eye-opening what he did in Punchestown. He’d been working well at home before that, but I found it hard to believe he could put in that sort of run first time out against Grade One horses.

“I spent a good bit of time debating whether to go jumping fences. But with my team at home, we were looking at his soundness record and we just felt it might be easier to keep him sound over hurdles.

“The Hatton’s Grace is a great starting point. The horses that win it nearly always go on to Christmas and Cheltenham and Punchestown, so it’s a great indicator.

“A lot will depend how he goes over the next few weeks, whether he’s ready for Fairyhouse.”

Ruth Dudfield aboard Stormy Ireland
Ruth Dudfield aboard Stormy Ireland (INPHO photography)

Klassical Dream is one of four Hatton’s Grace entries for the champion trainer, with Stormy Ireland, Saldier and Burning Victory also in contention.

Stormy Ireland won at Fairyhouse and Punchestown in the spring, having returned to Closutton following a spell in Britain with Paul Nicholls.

“She’s a funny little mare. Ruth Dudfield rides her out all the time and Ruth tells me that when she’s an absolute little tyke, that’s when she’s best,” Mullins added.

“When she’s nearly unmanageable on the gallop, that’s when she seems to be at her best, and she’s in that sort of form at the moment.

“She loves Fairyhouse. She won her three-year-old maiden hurdle there by 58 lengths, which was an extraordinary performance.”

Saldier is race-fit after winning the Galway Hurdle and a Grade Three at Tipperary, while last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Burning Victory was last seen finishing second in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket.

Mullins said: “When Saldier got that fall in Naas (in 2018), he broke his jaw and his eye socket, and one side of his face collapsed.

“I think it’s just taken him all that time to get his confidence back jumping again. Now he’s got it back, hopefully he can improve.

“I think the two and a half miles of the Hatton’s Grace would be right up his street.

“I like the idea of going two-and-a-half with Burning Victory. Looking at her rating of 143, she’s probably not really entitled to go there with a winning chance and we have to improve her jumping.”

Willie Mullins surveys his horses on the gallops
Willie Mullins surveys his horses on the gallops (INPHO photography)

Mullins is also set to be well represented in the two other Grade Ones on the same Fairyhouse card – the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and the Drinmore Novice Chase.

His potential contenders for the Royal Bond include Farout and Arctic Warrior, who would both need to bounce back from short-priced defeats.

Mullins said: “Farout has jumped very well apart from the last day for some reason, when he jumped appallingly in Listowel. He still finished second, but was well beaten because of his jumping.

“I’m hoping whatever went wrong that day doesn’t go wrong again – because if he keeps his jumping together, he’s going to be involved coming to the second-last anyhow.

“Arctic Warrior could be anything. He certainly shows me a lot at home – and if everything goes right for him, he’s a horse that will run a very big race.”

Bleu Berry after winning the 2018 Coral Cup at Cheltenham
Bleu Berry after winning the 2018 Coral Cup at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

In the Drinmore, Mullins has a couple of lesser lights in Bleu Berry and Robinnia, but feels both could make their presence felt.

He added: “Bleu Berry is good. I think if things had been different he might have won the last day, and then you might be looking at him in a different light.

“I think he has the ability and the fitness from his few runs, which puts him in here with a good chance.

“It’s the same with Robinnia. I thought she was unlucky in Galway when she fell and ran very well again the other day. Very little improvement puts her in the picture, I think.

“While there’s very good winter horses from last season in it, our two might just have the little edge of fitness and experience going into it.”

Dream return for Klassical with Stayers success

Klassical Dream made light of a long absence as he ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown.

A ready winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2019, when he also followed up at this meeting, his career hit the buffers last season.

Sent off an odds-on favourite in two Grade One outings, he was beaten in both, most recently in the Matheson Hurdle in December 2019 when last of five.

However, having his first outing for nearly 500 days, there was plenty of market confidence behind Patrick Mullins’ mount which saw him sent off at 5-1 in a strong field.

Patrick Mullins (left) and Klassical Dream celebrate
Patrick Mullins (left) and Klassical Dream celebrate (Brian Lawless/PA)

The favourite was Cheltenham winner Flooring Porter but he got very worked up down at the start, missed the break, raced keenly throughout and by the second last he was beating a retreat.

French Dynamite was left in front, but all the while Mullins crept closer on Klassical Dream, who cruised to the front on the bridle.

Stablemate James Du Berlais came out of the pack to chase him home, but was beaten nine lengths. Ronald Pump was third.

Willie Mullins with his Stayers Hurdle trophy
Willie Mullins with his Stayers Hurdle trophy (Brian Lawless/PA)

Patrick Mullins said: “I can’t say I’m surprised. He’s a very high-class horse, it just went wrong for him over two miles.

“I know he hadn’t run for a long time, but he was ready to run at Christmas and he got a small setback and then it was too late to go chasing.

“Eilish Byrne deserves great credit as she rides him out all the time and he’s not easy.

“I wasn’t surprised how well he settled, he had a hood on and we went a good gallop. The false start wasn’t ideal, but he handled it all right.”

Mullins, who moved three clear of Jamie Codd in the race to be champion amateur, added: “I’m getting to pick up rides in Grade Ones, I’m in a very lucky position and Jamie doesn’t have that kind of ammunition and firepower.

“When you are riding for Willie Mullins at Punchestown, it makes the job a lot easier.

“I’ve been lucky enough to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and now the Stayers here. I was second in the Gold Cup on Djakadam one year, so hopefully I might get the full set at some stage.”

Mullins mentioned the French Champion Hurdle as a possible option for the winner.