Galmoy Hurdle – Can Anyone Stop Klassical Dream?
Previewing Gowran Park’s Grade 2 on Thursday
The Galmoy Hurdle has been won by horses with aims of the Stayers’ Hurdle, the Mares’ Hurdle and even the Cheltenham Gold Cup in recent years. This season, Gowran Park’s crowds will be treated to one of the Cheltenham Festival’s favourites in Klassical Dream. But can any of his eight opponents stop him?
In all likelihood, any horse that beats KLASSICAL DREAM will likely be the winner of the Galmoy Hurdle.
That does not look to be a probable scenario however. Willie Mullins’ former Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner has won both his starts at this trip. As it happens, both of those were Grade 1s and came after breaks of 487 and 243 days respectively.
The fact he will have had less than a month between races this time should not be too much of a concern, as he took his racing well as a novice hurdler over two miles. Similarly, though his Grade 1 penalty ensures he is conceding weight all round, he should still have plenty more in hand.
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It would be easy to suggest that chasing has not gone to plan for ASHDALE BOB, who failed to win in three starts over the larger obstacles.
However, he would have been second to Bob Olinger but for a forced mistake that saw him unseat Sean O’Keeffe on his return, while he was also third to Farouk D’alene, who only narrowly missed out on Grade 1 honours next time out.
He returned sore from his disappointing effort at Leopardstown and was a two-time Grade 2 winner over hurdles last season. That unfortunately means that he carries more weight than every horse bar Klassical Dream.
Moreover, despite a mini resurgence in the last couple of weeks, trainer Jessica Harrington is far from enjoying her best season. He is a watch only horse on his return to this sphere.
Any Second Now
Third in the Grand National in 2021, everything in the 2021/22 season is surely about gearing up ANY SECOND NOW for a crack at Aintree redemption.
He is no back number in regulation races either, winning a Grade 2 over two miles last season, such is his versatility. However, that changeability does not translate quite so well over hurdles.
While there are no doubts about stamina and though this will have minimal impact on his chase mark for the National, he can not be expected to mix it with the best of these.
Commander Of Fleet
Still only an eight-year-old, COMMANDER OF FLEET had not been easy to train, missing the entirety of the 2019/20 season.
Upon his return, it has either been direct hit or wild miss for the former Grade 1 novice hurdle winner. He has won twice, but has two non-completions and 0s in his recent form too.
Despite an impressive handicap victory at Navan at the start of November, he could not live with Klassical Dream in the Christmas Hurdle and a 7lb swing in the weights should not even be close to making a substantial difference.
Mouse Morris’ grey looked capable of big things last season, but even though victories ended up hard to come by, staying power was clearly his forte.
GENTLEMANSGAME was placed three times in Graded company last season, including twice in Grade 1s. Those were races over 2m 6f and 3m, which evidently showed him to best effect behind some top class prospects.
He returned in a Pertemps qualifier, but despite travelling well, found little in the closing stages when squeezed for room. That can be forgiven though and as he is still only a six-year-old, there are reasons to expect far better.
A 7lb allowance still leaves him well short of Klassical Dream on figures, but he has the potential to improve for his reappearance and could give the favourite most to think about.
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Home By The Lee
HOME BY THE LEE put in a much better effort on his most recent start behind Darver Star at Punchestown.
That followed a string of disappointing efforts over fences, but when he turns up he can be very useful. He enjoyed a wide-margin handicap success at Naas in February as well as a Grade 3 win at Cork in November 2020.
Darver Star did little for the form at Lingfield recently though and the race fell apart for Home By The Lee to pick up second. That should not happen again here.
The former Triumph Hurdle runner-up made Klassical Dream’s prior absences look minute when Willie Mullins ambitiously declared him for the Christmas Hurdle.
MR ADJUDICATOR was not the yard’s priority of course, but after 879 days without a race, he acquitted himself reasonably, never troubling the places, but completing where others failed.
He should be much fitter for his reappearance and is a talented horse. Similarly, it is interesting that Mullins keeps him over three miles here, so he clearly retains some faith. He could be intriguing for each-way backers if he can improve for racing.
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This will be ROYAL KAHALA’s first attempt at three miles, but she shaped like a decent stayer at Leopardstown after Christmas.
Against her own sex, she won the Grade 3 mares’ hurdle on the card, requiring all of the 2m 4f trip to wear down last year’s Coral Cup heroine Heaven Help Us. That also represented a good deal of improvement from her seasonal return, in which she was second to Dysart Diamond.
The soft ground should certainly be in her favour and the one question will be if she can stay the trip. While it would take a huge step up to beat Klassical Dream, she is an intriguing runner as she prepares for the big spring festivals.
Though it was a while ago, COURT MAID did win on her previous hurdles start.
That was in a handicap at Naas in March 2020 and she soon became a useful chaser, reaching a peak mark of 152, off which she was ninth in the Irish Grand National last season.
However, her last two starts have been less encouraging and it would take some leap of faith to expect her to translate, or even improve upon, her best form here.
Big Race Verdict
It is very difficult to see KLASSICAL DREAM losing unless he really does benefit from significant breaks between races. However, he took regular racing well as a novice hurdler, so it is unlikely to be an issue. Mr Adjudicator and Gentlemansgame are his most interesting opponents.