What Will Be The target For The Impressive Appreciate It Next Season?

Published 2021/03/18

What Will Be The target For The Impressive Appreciate It Next Season?

Appreciate It had been the ante-post favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle from very early in the 2020/21 campaign and he proved why with a scintillating display in the opening race of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.

Willie Mullins’ runner blew his rivals away, scoring by 24 lengths, one of the largest margins of victory for many years in the novice hurdle contest. The seven-year-old was clear jumping the last fence and he stretched away from the field up the hill.

The Irishman, who is the most successful trainer in the meeting’s history, has now won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle seven times. It could be a big week for Mullins as he also has the favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Al Boum Photo is bidding to win that race for the third straight year and would be a good option for anyone looking to bet on Cheltenham 2021, although he doesn't provide a lot of value due to how dominant he has been.

The Irish Champion Trainer will already be thinking about what route he will take with Appreciate It next season. He is unbeaten in four starts over hurdles and that victory at the Festival was his third straight Grade One success.

If he remains over hurdles, the Champion Hurdle will be the obvious target. This is an exciting division at the moment with Honeysuckle leading the way following her win in the premier hurdle contest this year.

The majority of Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winners have gone chasing the following season. Last year’s winner Shishkin did that and won the Arkle Challenge Trophy in his opening campaign over fences. Douvan and Altior have both managed that double too.

Fakir D'Oudairies is another horse who went chasing after a big run in the Supreme. He was fourth in the opening race of the Festival in 2018. He then finished second in the Akrle 12 months later. He is consided to be Joseph O'Brien's best Grade One chance at the meeting this year.

Appreciate It looks like a horse who will be a chaser in the future. Many of Mullin’s stablestars have gone straight to chasing after their novice hurdle season, including Vautour. He won the JLT Novices’ Chase, a race which would also be an option, however, given how dominant he has been over 2m, that looks the most likely distance he will remain at.

Decision Unlikely To Be Rushed

Although Mullins will be asked many times over the next few weeks about Appreciate It’s future, don’t expect a decision to be made any time soon. Mullins will most likely school his talented horse over hurdles and fences in the summer.

The Irish trainer will see how his star handles fences on his training gallops. He will be looking to see if the horse can maintain his speed over the bigger obstacles and want to make sure he is able to jump fluently over the timber.

If he does turn into a chaser, the 2m division will get even stronger. Looking further ahead, the Queen Mother Champion Chase would be an obvious race to run in at the 2022 Festival. That could see him clash with Shishkin.

Mullins already has a talented 2m chaser in Chacun Pour Soi who is also young enough to remain at the top of the division for many years to come. Mullins is very good at getting these big decisions right. His record at the Festival backs this up. One thing there is no doubt about, this is a horse who could be set to achieve big things in the sport in the future.