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Racing News
Tuesday 10th December 2019
Mullins Pair Top Champion Hurdle Market

Willie Mullins is fast becoming a legend in his own lifetime. Champion Trainer in Ireland and leading trainer at last season's Cheltenham Festival, he has another crop of superstars heading to Prestbury Park next March.

His embarassment of riches is highlighted by the options he has in the elite hurdling division with Klassical Dream, Saldier and Benie Des Dieux all featuring amongst the favourites in the Champion Hurdle.

These top performers are backed up by the likes of Laurina and Melon, who may revert to the hurdling division but are currently dabbling in the chasing arena.

Saldier surprisingly defeated stablemate Klassical Dream in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on November 19.

After the race, winning jockey Danny Mullins said: "Saldier is equipped to deal with whatever a race throws up. He settles well and, when you give him a kick in the belly he comes alive.

"When I really needed him to jump on Saturday, he jumped like a proper Champion Hurdle contender, he really did. That was a serious performance on Saturday and, no, I'm not surprised to see him joint-favourite for the Champion Hurdle.

"Klassical Dream won a few Grade 1s as a novice and Sharjah is a good horse too, so he has beaten the best of what is on this side of the Irish Sea. Obviously Buveur D'Air is a very worthy contender being a winner of two Champion Hurdles already.

Things have not gone totally according to plan for Saldier since that Punchestown victory, and after failing to fire at home, he will not race over Christmas.

The five year old ended stable mate Klassical Dream’s run of wins and Mullins told The Racing Post: 

“Saldier didn’t come out of his Morgiana win as well as I’d hoped. I’m not 100 per cent happy with him so we decided not to enter him for the Matheson Hurdle on December 29th. Hopefully he will be back in action early in the new year.”

Klassical Dream is entered for the Leopardstown December Hurdle over two miles on December 29. His hurdling will have to improve after his showing at Punchestown, and it will be interesting to see if he bounces back over Christmas.

Benie Des Dieux was last seen winning a Grade 1 hurdle by 6½ lengths in Auteil in May.

Mullins said: “She's got a lovely chase rating, and she could go chasing, but she won the French Champion Hurdle in May and I'd like to do something similar with her this season.

"The only difference being I'd like to get runs into her before Cheltenham and, ground depending, she'll run in those good Grade 1 hurdle races.”

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