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Punchestown Festival: Klassical Dream back after long absence to win Stayers Hurdle for Willie Mullins

Patrick Mullins secured another Punchestown Festival win for his trainer father Willie Mullins as he rode Klassical Dream to victory in the Stayers Hurdle
Klassical Dream secured a dominant Punchestown Festival victory as Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle winner Flooring Porter was never settled during Thursday’s race

Willie Mullins clinched another big win at this year’s Punchestown Festival as his son Patrick rode Klassical Dream to victory in the Stayers Hurdle.

In his first race since 2019, the 5-1 shot was always travelling smoothly before finishing nine lengths clear of stablemate James Du Berlais.

This year’s Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle winner Flooring Porter again found a right-hand track not to his liking.

Flooring Porter was unsettled before the start and was eventually pulled up.

The dominant Cheltenham winner, with Jonathan Moore again back on board after the jockey stood himself down at Prestbury Park to be replaced by Danny Mullins, raced keenly throughout and the 100-30 favourite was beating a retreat before the second last.

By contrast, Klassical Dream, in his first race in nearly 500 days, produced a perfectly judged race to land a ninth win of the meeting for trainer Mullins after market confidence had seen his pre-race odds drop to 5-1.

Mullins then secured a 10th win of the week in the next race as Jody McGarvey rode Capodanno to victory in the Handicap Hurdle and the trainer brought up his tally to 11 as Paul Townend rode 2-5 favourite Energumene to victory in the Novice Chase.

Klassical Dream’s pedigree was not in any doubt after winning the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham two years ago and also triumphing at the Punchestown Festival in 2019.

However, he then suffered two Grade One-defeats including at the Matheson Hurdle in 2019 which was his last race before Thursday’s outing.

Klassical Dream’s stablemate James Du Berlais came out of the pack to finish a distant second with last year’s Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle runner-up Ronald Pump a further three-and-a-half lengths back in third.

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

“I know he hadn’t run for a long time, but he was ready to run at Christmas and he got a small setback.”

Mullins’ victory moves him three ahead of Jamie Codd in the race to be Irish champion amateur jockey.

In the battle for the overall Irish Jockeys Championship, Townend is now seven clear of Rachael Blackmore, who was unseated by Captain Guinness when already running on empty in the Novice Hurdle as her title rival took the race victory.

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