'Klassical Dream the real deal' says excited Townend ahead of Morgiana comeback
Paul Townend is relishing the prospect of riding Klassical Dream when the Champion Hurdle favourite makes his seasonal reappearance in Saturday's Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.
Last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner will bid to give trainer Willie Mullins his ninth-straight win in the opening Grade 1 hurdle of the jumps season and tenth in total, with just four rivals in contention to take him on.
Townend said: “Klassical Dream has to step up to the big league now but hopefully he can do that.”
"He was very impressive in all of his starts last season and he seems to be the real deal, but he has to prove that now against the big boys."
Townend, who rode Klassical Dream on his stable debut for Mullins, added: "I loved him when I won on him at Leopardstown last season. He made a mess of the last hurdle and he galloped away to the line again that day.
“He always showed us at home that he was a bit above average. The Morgiana Hurdle fits in nicely to his season and it's a good place to start."
Dual Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly won the Morgiana three times for Mullins between 2012 and 2014 while Faugheen, a Champion Hurdle winner in 2015, landed the Punchestown highlight two seasons ago.
According to Townend, there are similarities between Faugheen and Klassical Dream, bidding to provide the rider with his third-straight success in the race.
Townend added: “Klassical Dream is a completely different horse to Hurricane Fly – he was a Flat horse with loads of speed whereas Klassical Dream is more of a National Hunt type, probably more like Faugheen.
"If Klassical Dream can do half of what either Hurricane Fly or Faugheen did he wouldn't be doing a bad job! But in this game we are always looking for potential and the potential is there with Klassical Dream. I'm really looking forward to Punchestown at the weekend."
The Morgiana field is completed by former Irish Champion Hurdle winner Petit Mouchoir and Yaha Fizz.
Meanwhile, Mullins has entered Cheltenham Festival winner Eglantine Du Seuil in the Frontline Security Grabel Mares Hurdle on Sunday while Gordon Elliott has handed an entry to exciting novice chaser Battleoverdoyen in the Liam and Valerie Brennan Florida Pearl Novice Chase on the same card.
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