The Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh partnership got Ireland off to an excellent start in the opener on Day 1 of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival as Klassical Dream (6/1) ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The five-year-old son of Dream Well won by four and a half lengths from Thomas Darby (28/1), with Itchy Feet (25/1) a further half-length back in third, and in the process gave the winning trainer his 62nd Festival success and a sixth win in this race.
Willie Mullins was full of praise for the winner, who follows Vautour and Douvan as Closutton-trained winners of this race:
“It’s terrific. He’s a good horse. We took a risk running him on goodish firm ground at home, but we thought he had a fair engine all along. We debated whether we’d need to go for the other race [the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs] but when we saw the rain forecast, we decided to come for this [over two miles].”
Klassical Dream and Ruby Walsh took the lead in the middle stages of the race and jumped beautifully in the home straight to easily move clear of his rivals and score by four and a half-lengths from Olly Murphy’s stable companions Thomas Darby and Itchy Feet.
The winning riding, tasting Cheltenham Festival success for the 59th time, said of the winner:
“He was magical and very professional at his hurdles. At the top of the hill, I could hear a couple of others tapping away and I was thinking I’m going better than those immediately behind me which gave me confidence.”
1.30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
1 Klassical Dream (Joanne Coleman) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-07 Ruby Walsh 6/1
2 Thomas Darby (Diana Whateley) Olly Murphy 6-11-07 Richard Johnson 28/1
3 Itchy Feet (Andrew & Kate Brooks) Olly Murphy 5-11-07 Gavin Sheehan 25/1
9/2jf Fakir D’Oudairies (4th), Al Dancer (10th)
Distances: 4½, ½
Time: 3m 59.56s