Klassical Dream outlined his credentials for the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival (Klassical Dream – 5/2) after a two-length victory in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.
It was a sensational front-running display from the seven-year-old who was making his seasonal return following his victory at Punchestown in April.
He bolted out of the blocks and was calmly in front for the whole race with last season’s Christmas Hurdle winner Flooring Porter (7/1 – Stayers Hurdle) finishing second.
The lead duo were a long way clear of Burning Victory in third.
Klassical Dream won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2019 but hasn’t raced at the Gloucestershire course since then.
However, trainer Willie Mullins (pictured) confirmed his performance on Monday will see him return to Prestbury Park.
Mullins said: “It was impressive. When a horse is having their first run, sometimes they can run a bit fresh but he kept plenty in reserve.
“I think he’s had a tough race so we’ll see what we do now – we might go straight to Cheltenham. We’ll probably revert to the usual tactics of sitting in next time. He jumps so well, stays and gallops. We’ll just try to get him there.”
Elsewhere, at Punchestown, odds-on favourite A Plus Tard was beaten late on by Gordon Elliott’s Galvin in the Savill’s Chase, with the pair potentially locking horns again in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (A Plus Tard 7/2, Galvin 5/1 – Gold Cup Outright).
The Betfair Chase winner from last month was in front at the final fence but jockey Davy Russell guided Galvin to a stunning finish to take the Grade One race.
Elliott said afterwards the plan was to take Galvin straight to the Gold Cup, a year after he won the Grade Two Novices’ Chase at the Festival.
“That’s unbelievable. I had a tear in my eye for half the race, I’m not afraid to say it. We’ve had a tough year and it’s brilliant,” he said.
“We started off having a bit of fun around Perth with him and he hasn’t let us down the whole way. That’s 12 races he’s won now and he’s a horse of a lifetime.
“He got into a lovely rhythm, he does that, he’s a good horse and he stays like hell. He’ll go straight to the Gold Cup now.”