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Mullins forced to rule out three star runners ahead of Cheltenham

The trainer will be without three of his most highly-rated stars for the festival.

Willie Mullins with Douvan.
Willie Mullins with Douvan.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WILLIE MULLINS HAS suffered a triple Cheltenham blow with the news that Saldier, Klassical Dream and Douvan have all been ruled out of the festival.

Saldier and Klassical Dream were both set to run in the Unibet Champion Hurdle, while Mullins had been hoping to have Douvan available for the Betway Champions Chase.

Saldier had raced in November but suffered a setback over the Christmas period, while Klassical Dream is nursing a leg infection. 

Douvan looked to be making good progress in winning the Clonmel Oil Chase in November but has not reached the desired level in time for the Cheltenham Festival, which begins on 10 March.

“I have to report that both Klassical Dream and Saldier are out of the Unibet Champion Hurdle picture and won’t be going to the festival,” Mullins told the Racing Post.

“We had to withdraw Klassical Dream from the PCI Irish Champion Hurdle last weekend, but the leg infection he picked up and which looked a minor problem on Friday night has turned out to be a bit more serious and we’ve decided to leave him alone. Unfortunately, he’s going to miss the rest of the season.


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“Saldier hasn’t progressed well enough since the setback he had after winning the Morgiana Hurdle in November and he won’t make the Festival. We’ll just have to see how things go and, hopefully, he might make it back for Punchestown.

“It’s the same story with Douvan and he, too, won’t be going to the Festival where he is entered for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

“He started the season so well when winning the Clonmel Oil Chase in good style in November on his return from a lengthy absence, but he hasn’t run since and we’re just not happy with him. Whether he’ll be right to go to Punchestown remains to be seen.”

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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