08 January 2023

Appreciate It stakes Festival claim with stylish Naas verdict

08 January 2023

Appreciate It cemented his Cheltenham Festival claims with a routine victory on his second start over fences at Naas.

A 24-length winner of the 2021 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park, the Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old was due to pursue a novice chase campaign last season before injury intervened. He ultimately only made it to the track once – finishing seventh in the Champion Hurdle.

The son of Jeremy looked the part on his belated fencing bow at Punchestown last month, though, and was a 1-9 favourite to follow up in the Rathmore Stud Irish EBF Novice Chase.

Those who took the cramped odds will have had few concerns, with Paul Townend’s mount jumping soundly at the head of affairs throughout and passing the post with 21 lengths in hand over Gaelic Arc.

Paddy Power trimmed Appreciate It’s Arkle Trophy odds to 11-2 from 6-1, while he is 6-1 unchanged with the same firm for the longer Turners’ Novices’ Chase.

“The same as the last day, you’d love to get a lead on him. He’s idle in front and I was trying to teach him today, and win, without doing something silly,” said Townend.

“He showed me the last day that he’s there when I need him. It’s grand to get him out again and you’d have to be happy with everything he’s doing. Every day is experience for him.”

Mullins went on to complete a treble, with Champ Kiely carrying the Appreciate It colours of Michael Masterson to victory in the Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle in the hands of Danny Mullins before Hunters Yarn predictably outclassed his rivals in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle under Townend.

The latter won twice in bumpers last season and improved from his third over hurdles at Punchestown on his latest outing to score by 13 lengths at cramped odds of 1-4.

Of Hunters Yarn, Townend added: “He got in underneath one or two (hurdles) but when I wanted him, and I was going on a stride up the straight, he was good and got better at it.

“If I had done that with him the first day he’d probably have won as well. He improved from his first run but I wasn’t happy with myself the first day.”

Telmesomethinggirl secured her first victory since scoring at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival with a determined display in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase.

Four runners went to post for the two-mile-one-furlong contest, but it looked a match on paper and so it transpired, with 5-4 shot Telmesomethinggirl and 6-5 favourite Instit bossing proceedings.

The pair traded positions a few times during the course of the two-and-a-half-mile journey, with Instit the more assured in the jumping department for much of the way.

But a bad mistake from the latter when holding a narrow lead at the final obstacle opened the door for Henry de Bromhead’s Telmesomethinggirl and Rachael Blackmore and she went on to score by six lengths.

The other two runners, Choice Of Words and Pont Aval, failed to complete the course.

“She didn’t jump with any kind of fluency at all, so we can definitely work on that,” said Blackmore.

“I thought turning in that I would definitely get there, but then I made a mess of the second-last. It’s a long way (home) after the last here as well and I knew if I got over the last, I’d have a chance.

“She’s got lots of ability, the way she jumped she wasn’t entitled to win. She has a lot of raw ability and hopefully we can improve her jumping.”

Cut The Rope made a successful debut for Paul Nolan in the concluding Fifty Stars Standing At Sunnyhill Stud (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race, ridden by 5lb claimer Eoin O’Brien.

James Nolan, assistant to his brother, said: “He’s a nice horse. We can’t take a whole lot of praise for this as we haven’t had him very long. We bought him off a gallop after Richard O’Brien recommended him to us.

“We made a mistake last year as Richard told us he’d win the bumper here with Impulsive Dancer and we didn’t act quickly enough. He won and Willie (Mullins) bought him. Thankfully we haven’t made the same mistake twice.

“He’s a lovely, relaxed horse. He showed a great attitude here today and is a real pro.

“Barry O’Neill would ride all our bumper horses, but part of the deal was that Eoin would keep the ride. He gave him a super ride and dictated everything in front.

“He’s a very likeable horse. We have no plans but he might go to Limerick for that Listed bumper.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox