Champion Bumper runner-up Appreciate It made a smooth start to his career over hurdles at Cork on Sunday.
The six-year-old was the hot favourite to provide trainer Willie Mullins with a 10th Champion Bumper success at the Cheltenham Festival last season following successive wins in that sphere, but was unable to resist the late surge of stable companion Ferny Hollow.
With Ferny Hollow having made a successful switch to the jumping game at Gowran Park on Friday, Appreciate It was 1/12 to emulate him in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle under Paul Townend.
The son of Jeremy jumped smartly throughout, and while 50/1 shot Master Mcshee gave him a lead into the home straight and did his best to make a race of it, Appreciate It pulled two and a half lengths clear on the run-in with the minimum of fuss.
“I’m very happy and he jumped brilliantly the whole way and picked up well from the back of the last,” said Townend.
“He is deadly to jump and had a lot of it done (for previous trainer Pat Doyle) before we went jumping him.
“Over two miles you couldn’t be happier with him and he’ll have no problem going further.”
Mullins and Townend had earlier teamed up to land division one of the Sobac Soil.ie Used On Cork Racecourse Maiden Hurdle with French recruit Ganapathi.
second-time lucky for odds-on shots in Ireland! ??— Racing TV (@RacingTV) November 22, 2020
Ganapathi - in the colours of dual-Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo - repels Rajsalad @corkracecourse for @WillieMullinsNH and @PTownend pic.twitter.com/wVbxihJz02
Carrying the Al Boum Photo colours of owner Joe Donnelly, the 2/5 favourite followed up a win on the flat in his homeland with a near two-length verdict.
Townend said: “I’d say he’ll come on plenty for it, he jumped very very well but missed the last.
“It is very testing and with the one (Howdyalikemenow) going off in front it made it a true run race. We went our own gallop in behind and he kept up the gallop and I think he’ll improve for it.”
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