31 January 2022

Mullins to leave it late before making Appreciate It decision

31 January 2022

Willie Mullins will wait until later in the week before deciding whether to allow Appreciate It to take on Honeysuckle in the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle.

Not seen since winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, Appreciate It was due to pursue a career over fences this term before injury prompted a change of tack.

The eight-year-old is second-favourite for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham behind last year’s winner Honeysuckle, who will first bid to complete her hat-trick in the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown

Whether Appreciate It makes his comeback in Sunday’s feature remains to be seen, with the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran Park mooted as a potential alternative.

Speaking at Punchestown on Monday, Mullins said: “We’ve no decision made yet. He worked well the other week and he’ll work again this week, then we’ll see where we go.

“It’s all up in the air at the moment. I chatted to the owner (Michael Masterson) there after Kilcruit won and he’s happy to let him work and see where we are.”

Whether Appreciate It turns up or not, Mullins will again be well represented across Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival.

Chacun Pour Soi will bid to bounce back from Tingle Creek disappointment by securing a third successive win in Sunday’s Ladbrokes Dublin Chase, while defending champion Kemboy will lead what is likely to be a strong Mullins team in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup on Saturday.

Chacun Pour Soi will bid to get back on track at Leopardstown (Steven Paston/PA) (PA Wire)

“Chacun looks good and he’ll work tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get him there,” Mullins added.

“Most of them will go in the Irish Gold Cup – Kemboy will go, Melon will go and Asterion Forlonge could go. We’ll let them take their chances.”

Chief among the champion trainer’s most exciting novice prospects is Galopin Des Champs, who made a huge impression on his fencing debut at Leopardstown over Christmas and is due to return for Sunday’s Ladbrokes Novice Chase.

On his novice chasing team, Mullins added: “They may as well go and get experience because we are lacking in experience. We’ll work them all over the next couple of days and we’ll see what is well enough to run.”

Track officials at Leopardstown have been pouring on the water amid criticism of conditions at previous Festivals.

Mullins admits concerns remain, saying: “You’d have to be worried. They say they’ve put 160 millilitres of water on it. It’s great to hear that’s being done.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox