Porter and Klassical head dream list of Stayers’ Hurdle entries

Defending Stayers' Hurdle champion Flooring Porter and 2019 Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner are the stars attractions on a list of 33 entries revealed for this year's staying championship.

In a memorable effort last year, Flooring Porter made all to claim Festival glory for trainer Gavin Cromwell and jockey Danny Mullins.

The Willie Mullins-trained Klassical Dream, who had taken Punchestown's Grade 1 Champion Stayers' Hurdle last April, when Flooring Porter was pulled up, again had his measure when the pair met at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Now eight years of age, Klassical Dream has been patiently handled in recent seasons and that has been rewarded with those successive big race wins. It should be a mouthwatering clash between the champ and the pretender to his throne in a few weeks' time.

Cromwell could also saddle Darver Star, while Closutton handler Mullins has seven contenders in total, with Asterion Forlonge and Melon both given the option of switching back to the smaller obstacles.

Asterion Forlonge fell at the final fence when seemingly booked for second behind stablemate Tornado Flyer in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Nicky Henderson has entered the JP McManus-owned pair of Buveur D'Air and Champ.

Dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air has been off the track since finishing fourth in the Aintree Hurdle last spring, while Champ successfully reverted to hurdles in the Long Walk at Ascot last month.

Thyme Hill, who was just under two lengths behind Champ when second in the Long Walk, is a likely runner for Philip Hobbs.

Emma Lavelle's Paisley Park and the Rebecca Curtis-trained Lisnagar Oscar, who won the Stayers' Hurdle in 2019 and 2020 respectively, also feature.

Meanwhile, Mullins is responsible for eight of 28 initial entries for the Close Brothers' Mares' Hurdle.

Ireland's perennial champion trainer has saddled nine previous winners of the Grade 1 contest, with six of those victories provided by the brilliant Quevega.

Mullins appears intent on adding to his tally, with recent Relkeel Hurdle winner Stormy Ireland and Burning Victory, a former winner of the Triumph Hurdle, two of his leading hopes.

Telmesomethinggirl won the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at last year's Festival and could return for Henry de Bromhead, with Peter Fahey's Royal Kahala and Paul Hennessy's Heaven Help Us other major players for Ireland.

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