Mullins hoping for French triumph from Klassical Dream

Klassical Dream is one of nine Mullins horses travelling to Paris

Friday, May 19, 2023

Paul Townend on Klassical Dream

Willie Mullins is hoping Klassical Dream can continue his excellent recent form as he looks to bounce back from his winless trip to Auteuil last year, writes Tom Masters. 

Sending over a nine-strong team for the weekend, Mullins is competing against fellow Irish trainers Gavin Cromwell and John ‘Shark’ Hanlon for the coveted Grade 1 Racing TV Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil, a race he has won five times – including in 2019 with Benie des Dieux.

The Master of Closutton has four running in that race, with Asterion Forlonge, Haut En Couleurs and Kilcruit joining Klassical Dream in the battle for the £155,000 of prize money.

All his raiders have Grade 1 pedigree but as runner-up last year and winning the Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown last month, it is Klassical Dream that is attracting the most attention.

“We had a tough time getting him to Cheltenham but he was good enough to go and he then ran well at Punchestown," Mullins told Sky Sports Racing.

"He goes to Auteuil in great order this year so I'm just hoping he can go one better. I'd imagine Paul (Townend) is going to ride him.

"It's a tough race this year with the likes of Hewick and Flooring Porter there too. 

"Asterion Forlonge might be one that could surprise people - maybe chasing is just not his best game so coming back over these hurdles will be a big help.” 

Hewick will have Rachael Blackmore on board as he bids to add Grade 1 French glory to the American Grand National he secured in style last year, while Cromwell is hoping for another memorable addition to Flooring Porter’s CV.

Mullins also has two horses in action in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris on Sunday, a race that has also attracted Emmet Mullins’ stable star Noble Yeats.

Last year Franco De Port finished third but it is his other contender in the race Carefully Selected that he is particularly excited about with the soft ground. 

"Carefully Selected has come out of the Grand National very well,” he added. 

"We've just had a report on the ground that it's going to be soft, maybe soft to heavy and he's probably the most ground dependent of the team I have going over - if it's soft, he has a chance.” 

There are two from Mullins' yard in Sunday’s Prix Alain du Breil - Course de Haies de Printemps, a race he has won twice, but not since 2016 when Footpad claimed glory. 

His two charges, Zarak The Brave and Gala Marceau, have both been in excellent form recently but have been edged out by Lossiemouth.

With her not making the journey over the English Channel, Mullins is intrigued by which of his contenders can hit the line first.

He added: "Zarak The Brave got a colic after his first win and had to have surgery, so this is a nice opportunity to run in a classy race, he was second at Punchestown and I think he'll improve for that. 

"Gala Marceau's form is good and I imagine she might be better over French hurdles - she's another who is too free and they might settle her down."

He goes to Auteuil in great order this year so I'm just hoping he can go one better.

-  Willie Mullins on Klassical Dream