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.
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.Watch every race live from the Dublin Racing Festival with a FREE one-month trial of Racing TV!
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