Go back to the 2021 Cheltenham Festival and the win of Appreciate It in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle kickstarted the week in dramatic fashion. Powering clear up the hill in the style of a very good horse, people instantly looked at him as a future chasing star.
However, plans have fallen apart for that, and instead, the horse will head to the Champion Hurdle to take on Honeysuckle. Can he make the step up out of novice company and take on the super mare, who won the 2021 Champion Hurdle in great style?
Bookmakers have already priced Honeysuckle up as an 8/11 favourite for the race, despite it being weeks away from happening. Behind her, we have two joint-second favourites, Appreciate it and Sharjah, both available at 8/1 according to the horse racing odds for UK and Irish racing. Sharjah has been there and attempted to win this race before, while Appreciate It is having his first crack, do they have a chance, or are bookmakers right to price Honeysuckle at odds on?
Can Anyone Beat the Hot Favourite?
If you watch the win of Appreciate It last season then you would certainly say that he has a chance of at least competing with Honeysuckle. The mare was excellent when landing the 2021 Champion Hurdle and could have won by further if she had needed to, and those who like her again will be quick to say the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle form doesn’t appear to be the strongest.
There is also a question mark over the type of horse that Appreciate It is. Despite his demolition job over hurdles last season, Willie Mullins was quick to say that chasing was the plan for him, and he would not be staying over hurdles.
Of course, that is not happening now, but does pose the question as to whether Appreciate It has the jumping speed for the Champion Hurdle, or whether things will happen a little too quickly for him.
If a member of the old guard was to get involved, could that be Sharjah? He won the Mathieson Hurdle for a fourth time as he continues his preparation for the big one in March. He’s tried in the past, and always looked dangerous, but never quite managed to get the job done.
What Does the Future Hold for Appreciate It?
Of course, this is all about one race at one festival, but there is a bigger picture to look at with Appreciate It. Set for chasing this season, that plan has been abandoned, and that will cause a headache for trainer Willie Mullins, if the horse competes well in the Champion Hurdle.
If he shows he can compete for the next few years at the top level, or goes better and actually wins the Champion Hurdle, what will he do? Does the chasing plan go ahead, or will the horse remain over hurdles?
This certainly adds plenty of intrigue to the horse, making him one to watch at the festival.