Appreciate It bagged a second Grade One from just three runs over timber in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Willie Mullins’ inmate, who was second in the Champion Bumper last March, was backed as if defeat was out of the question and sent off the 1-3 favourite.
Paul Townend decided to keep things simple on the seven-year-old, having him on the pace throughout on the inside.
With half a mile to run, the field was still tightly packed, but when Townend wound things up, only Ballyadam emerged as a serious threat.
While Gordon Elliott’s charge was put well in his place when fourth at Christmas, he made much more of a fight of it this time but having closed to within a length, Appreciate It still had more to give and went three and a quarter lengths clear. Blue Lord, a stablemate of the winner, was third.
Betfair trimmed the winner into 13-8 from 9-4 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle next month.
Mullins said: “He was very good when Paul set him alight. I thought he put it to bed straight away after the second last.
“There looked to be a gang of horses queuing up to take him on, but when he changed gear there was just one horse left, Ballyadam, and Ballyadam got tired going to the last and fluffed it. He has a good engine.
“He seems to tick every box, I’d like him to jump better than he did today. I thought he was a little careless down the back – I think he has a better jump in him.”
Townend said: “He wasn’t as breathtaking as he was at Christmas, but he ground it out, which is the sign of a good horse.
“He didn’t jump with as much fluency and was never in control of the race like I thought I could have been, but the good ones get it done and thankfully he has done it.”