Appreciate It provided Willie Mullins with a sixth victory in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The six-year-old won twice in the bumper sphere at Leopardstown last season before filling the runner-up spot behind his currently sidelined stable companion Ferny Hollow in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Having made a successful start to his hurdling career at Cork last month, Appreciate It was the 7-4 favourite stepping up to Grade One level and could hardly have been more impressive in the hands of Paul Townend.
After tracking the pacesetting Fire Attack for much of the two-mile journey, the six-year-old took the lead early in the home straight and powered clear after the dolled off final flight – passing the post nine lengths clear of Irascible, with Keskonrisk third.
Gordon Elliott’s Royal Bond winner Ballyadam was ultimately a shade disappointing in fourth.
Mullins said “He surprised me and impressed me. I was wondering if he was a two-and-a-half-mile horse or a two-mile horse. I know he can easily do it over two and a half, but to come back to two miles and put in a performance like that in a Grade One was impressive.
“I’d say we will go down the two-mile route now. He’s not flashy like Ferny Hollow, but he has a great cruising speed and he covers a lot of ground, which helps him to burn other horses off.
“He’ll probably have another run here at the Dublin Racing Festival.”
Following the champion trainer’s comments, Paddy Power make Appreciate It their 11-4 favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham (from 14-1), while easing him to 8-1 from 6-1 for the longer Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
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