Klassical Dream is all the rage to follow up his brilliant Cheltenham Festival victory in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
The five-year-old provided Willie Mullins with a record sixth victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park and is odds-on across the board to add to his tally under Ruby Walsh in a race the champion trainer has also won on six occasions.
Mullins’ assistant, David Casey, said: “I’d like to think Klassical Dream will be hard to beat. We think he’s a very good horse who has been improving all year and there’s nothing to suggest he’s disimproved since Cheltenham.
“We’d be very hopeful.”
Klassical Dream heads a formidable Mullins quartet that also includes Quick Grabim (Paul Townend) – who has been sidelined by injury since winning the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse in early December – Aramon (David Mullins) and Mister Blue Sky (Danny Mullins).
Casey added: “Aramon is a really tough horse who has won and finished second to Klassical Dream in Grade Ones at Leopardstown.
“The ground was probably a bit slow for him in Cheltenham and he bounced back to run well at Aintree. I’m sure he’ll run well again.
“Quick Grabim is a very talented horse. He had a bit of a setback, which meant he missed Cheltenham and Aintree, but he was very impressive in the Royal Bond and he’s a horse with a lot of class. Hopefully he’ll put up a good show.
“Mister Blue Sky was impressive in his maiden hurdle in Wexford and needed the run when he was second on his first run after a break in Naas. He improved from that to win in Fairyhouse and it wouldn’t be a shock if he ran a big race.
“They all deserve their place in the race.”
Gordon Elliott’s Felix Desjy finished fifth behind Klassical Dream at Cheltenham before seeing off the late challenge of Aramon to record a top-level triumph at Aintree.
“He has come out of Aintree in great shape and we’re looking forward to running him,” said Elliott.
“He won a Grade Two at the track earlier in the season and he is a horse that has come good through the second half of the season, so hopefully he can maintain that into Tuesday’s race, although Klassical Dream will take an awful lot of beating.”
The small but select field is completed by Nicky Henderson’s British challenger Champagne Platinum, who is unbeaten in two starts under rules, having won at Newcastle and Newbury before the turn of the year.
Henderson said: “Champagne Platinum had to miss Cheltenham through no fault of his own – he got a setback with a bad foot.
“He has won both his starts over hurdles and deserves a crack at his Grade One.”