GBI RACING

Klassical’s Festival target is headscratcher for Mullins

There was little between Klassical Dream (red) and Aramon at Leopardstown

Deciding on Klassical Dream’s Cheltenham Festival target is giving Willie Mullins a headache.

The French import is already a Grade One winner, having just come out on top in a terrific tussle with stablemate Aramon for the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.

While Mullins is happy to keep Aramon to two miles and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the Ballymore is being given due consideration for Klassical Dream.

“Aramon goes for the Supreme Novices’. Klassical Dream could be Supreme Novice or Ballymore,” said Mullins.

“He’s a very good jumper with a lot of experience. Ultimately he will want a trip. He’s one that’s giving me a little bit of a headache.

“Aramon has been fantastic all year and has surprised me. He keeps winning and he ran a cracker the last day – it was only a bob of the head.”

Klassical Dream exercising at Willie Mullins' Closutton base
Klassical Dream exercising at Willie Mullins’ Closutton base (Brian Lawless/PA)

Relegate was a somewhat surprising winner of the Champion Bumper last year, but she has not impressed over hurdles to date.

“Relegate will be the Albert Bartlett. I was very disappointed with her at Leopardstown,” said Mullins.

“Maybe the ground was too good for her. Maybe she needs very soft ground. She’s going to have to really up her game.

“Last year at Cheltenham, I took my binoculars off her just after the water fence – and the next thing is she’s powering up the hill. Horses for courses – perhaps she’ll enjoy going back to the Cheltenham.”

It has been a struggle over hurdles for Relegate (right) this season
It has been a struggle over hurdles for Relegate (right) this season (PA Wire)

Carefully Selected was just behind Relegate at Cheltenham but has not been seen this season because of quick ground.

Mullins added: “Carefully Selected – no (to making Cheltenham). I’m disappointed I didn’t declare him for today (at Punchestown) – if I’d known that rain was coming I would’ve.

“At this stage I’d say he won’t go to Cheltenham, because I won’t get a run into him. I think my owner’s happy enough – he prefers going to Punchestown anyhow.

“I’d say he’ll go over hurdles, but he always said to me if we buy a horse we’ll buy it for Punchestown.

“It’s been hugely frustrating (this season). But I’d rather have that frustration than having them injured. It’s disappointing, it’s an extraordinary year – I’ve never seen a year like it, (but) it is what it is.”

A race i n which Mullins’ record is likely to be unsurpassed is the Champion Bumper, with Relegate’s win his ninth in the contest, and this year Blue Sari leads his team.

He said: “We’ve a lot of bumper horses that haven’t got out – so Blue Sari would be the main one, if not the only one. Like Relegate, he doesn’t show off at home. She never showed off anything.

“He’s very laid-back – a child could ride him – he doesn’t show off the sort of speed he showed at Gowran. Doing what he did on the racetrack, he certainly must go there. “

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