Champion Bumper runner-up Appreciate It made a smooth start to his career over hurdles at Cork.
The six-year-old was the hot favourite to provide trainer Willie Mullins with a 10th Champion Bumper success at the Cheltenham Festival last season following successive wins in that sphere, but was unable to resist the late surge of stable companion Ferny Hollow.
With Ferny Hollow having made a successful switch to the jumping game at Gowran Park on Friday, Appreciate It was 1-12 to emulate him in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle under Paul Townend.
The son of Jeremy jumped smartly throughout, and while 50-1 shot Master Mcshee gave him a lead into the home straight and did his best to make a race of it, Appreciate It pulled two and a half lengths clear on the run-in with the minimum of fuss.
“I’m very happy and he jumped brilliantly the whole way and picked up well from the back of the last,” said Townend.
“He is deadly to jump and had a lot of it done (for previous trainer Pat Doyle) before we went jumping him.
“Over two miles you couldn’t be happier with him and he’ll have no problem going further.”
Bet365 make Appreciate It the 10-1 favourite for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
Mullins and Townend had earlier teamed up to land division one of the Sobac Soil.ie Used On Cork Racecourse Maiden Hurdle with French recruit Ganapathi.
Carrying the Al Boum Photo colours of owner Joe Donnelly, the 2-5 favourite followed up a win on the Flat in his homeland with a near two-length verdict.
Townend said: “I’d say he’ll come on plenty for it, he jumped very very well but missed the last.
“It is very testing and with the one (Howdyalikemenow) going off in front it made it a true run race. We went our own gallop in behind and he kept up the gallop and I think he’ll improve for it.”
The champion trainer and jockey went on to complete a treble on the card, with Yukon Lil justifying even-money favouritism in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
Mullins also saddled a winner at Navan in Blackbow.
“She’s was very good. I galloped into the first a little bit but she was awesome after that,” Townend added.
“I suppose she didn’t get a good run at last season as it was cut short, but she’s a smart mare and she’ll do well in those mares’ chases.”
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