Appreciate It Given Arkle Target At Cheltenham Festival

James Mackie | @jamesmackieee

Appreciate It

Superstar hurdler Appreciate It this season will be sent novice chasing and has been given the Arkle as a preliminary target during his campaign, with Mullins happy to keep him over two miles.

Second in the 2020 Champion Bumper to stablemate Ferny Hollow, the eight year old has had a perfect career since, thriving since going over hurdles.

Handily winning his maiden at Cork, he was swiftly moved onto graded company and duly obliged by winning the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. Travelling strongly throughout, he established his lead bypassing the last and skipped clear on the run-in to victory. 

He them backed that run up over the same course and distance at the Dublin Racing Festival, fending off the challenge of Ballyadam to take Grade One honours again. 

Appreciate It was then seen making it a hat-trick of Grade Ones when breezing clear in the 2021 Supreme Novices' Hurdle to win by 24 lengths.

Set to go chasing last term a set back scuppered those plans, with Mullins stating he would stay over hurdles with the Champion Hurdle a key target.

Making his seasonal debut in the race was always going to leave him with a lot to find and it worked out that way when tailing off into seventh.

This season he finally gets to tackle fences and his trainer looks to be keeping him at the minimum trip, with a tilt at the Arkle being thrown around.

(Credit ATR) Mullins said: “He had a small problem and we decided not to go for the rest of the season, because when you have a novice, you want to go for a full season, not a half season.

“With the sort of speed he showed over hurdles, we would have no problem going down the Arkle route. It doesn’t matter to me whether we start off at two or two-and-a-half (miles), we’ll just wait for him and the right race to come along.

“I would imagine we would be aiming towards the Arkle, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he went out to two-and-a-half miles, and I have no doubt he would have no problem at three miles.

“But he is very sharp at the shorter trip and if he can jump fences the way he jumps hurdles, I could see him being an Arkle horse.”