Saldier stuns stablemate Klassical Dream to take Morgiana Hurdle
Willie Mullins picks up a 10th victory in the race as Supreme winner fails to produce
Willie Mullins, Danny Mullins and Morgiana Hurdle winner Saldier. Photograph: Peter Mooney/Inpho
Stablemate Klassical Dream was the leading two-mile novice last term and after winning at Cheltenham and Punchestown in the spring, he was sent off the 2-5 favourite on his return.
In contrast, Saldier (7-1) was having his first run since he fell when seemingly travelling better than subsequent ill-fated Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D’Allen last November.
He suffered a broken nose and was given plenty of time to heal — making his return from 371 days on the sidelines here.
Everything seemed to be going to plan for Klassical Dream as he tracked Petit Mouchoir into the straight, with Saldier coming under pressure.
However, when Paul Townend pressed the button on Klassical Dream, there was little response and Saldier swept by to win by a length and a half.
Petit Mouchoir battled back for second, with Klassical Dream a further length back in third. Mullins’ other runner, Sharjah, was fourth.
Mullins said: “We’ve always liked Saldier, but it was just whether he would come back from his injury.
“His nose was in bits, but we decided not to have it operated and let nature take its course. We had the same trouble with Briar Hill, but operating on him didn’t work.
“His run in the Fishery Lane (behind Espoir D’Allen) showed us he could be Grade One material.
“He quickened up well at the last and won like a nice horse. Hopefully they will all improve.
“Klassical Dream threw himself at the first hurdle and then he was just too keen. I think he’ll improve from that, and a stronger gallop will help them all too.
“Patrick (Mullins) was never happy on Sharjah. I’d imagine he wanted the run badly and he’d want better ground.
“It has been a lucky race for us, not always with the first string, but they are all there doing their best and that’s what happens.”
Later, Blue Sari made a successful start over obstacles as he claimed the Kildare Now Maiden Hurdle.
Second in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival last term, Blue Sari was sent off the 30-100 favourite for Willie Mullins in the two-and-a-half-mile contest.
He was in front jumping the last for Mark Walsh, although Ashdale Bob looked as though he might put up a challenge before wandering across the track and dropping back to fourth.
That left it The Bosses Oscar and Brinkley to push the favourite to the line, but they were beaten half a length each in the minor places.
Mullins said: “He jumped well but was very free early on. I’m happy that he will improve a fair bit from that, and he can come back in trip.
“The Royal Bond will probably come too quick, so we might wait until Christmas. He looks a nice type and is only four.
“A faster run race over a shorter trip will suit him. He’s a nice ride at home and I’m looking forward to him for the season.”