Ladbrokes Champion Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

WILLIE Mullins and Paul Townend have been relentless and metronomic in their pursuit of the week’s crown jewels and for the third day in succession they claimed the feature event as Klassical Dream went back-to-back in this staying championship.


Twelve months ago, the Joanne Coleman-owned eight-year-old was explosive in the race and this victory was achieved in somewhat different fashion as Klassical Dream had to work in the closing stages.

However, he was a commanding figure throughout the race and when he brings his best to the track he has few peers in this division.

Defeats in the Galmoy Hurdle and the Stayers’ at Cheltenham meant that Klassical Dream could be vulnerable but he was sent off a well-backed 11/10 favourite and throughout the race he looked comfortable.

One felt that Klassical Dream was toying with his rivals, such was the ease with which he was travelling with two to jump.


A steady pace set by Gentlemansgame meant that the field was well grouped at this point. Klassical Dream cruised to the front before the last as Gentlemansgame gave best and Sire Du Berlais struggled to match the favourite.

Ashdale Bob was far from done with and he came with quite a rattle but Klassical Dream would not be denied a sixth top-level triumph. He got home by a length and a quarter, with Gentlemansgame finishing two and a half lengths back in third.

“Paul got him lovely and relaxed at the start. Having so few runners in the race was a big help as he was able to settle him on the outside and keep him relaxed. The horse races so much better when he does that,” observed Mullins.

“He gets a bit upset but he was very relaxed today in the parade ring, at the start and during the race.

“He’s maturing as he gets older and I’d imagine we’ll go the same route next year. I don’t think we’re going to go over fences, I think it’s easier to keep him sounder this way.”

“He got out of the right side of the bed this morning,” reflected Paul Townend. “He behaved well and everything went right through the race and this track does play to his strengths.

“I could definitely hear Robbie coming on Ashdale Bob but I felt I was doing enough to the line and I don’t know if he was ever going to get by me.”