Ruby Walsh: Appreciate It is the only horse that could beat Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle

Ruby reckons Appreciate It can give the superstar mare a run for her money.

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Honeysuckle is the hot favourite to land the Champion Hurdle for the second season in a row after taking her unbeaten career record to 14 when landing the Irish equivalent at the Dublin Racing Festival on Sunday.

Henry de Bromhead’s superstar mare has repeatedly seen off the likes of Sharjah and Zanahiyr but could face a fresh test of her credentials if Willie Mullins pitches Appreciate It into the mix.

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The winner of last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has yet to race this season after plans to go chasing were shelved and he could go straight to Cheltenham without a run under his belt.

Speaking on the latest episode of our Cheltenham Countdown podcast series, our resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby Walsh believes Appreciate It is worth an each-way punt as he’s got the class to place and is the only runner that could have the minerals to beat Honeysuckle. You can listen to the Cheltenham Countdown show in full BELOW.

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Ruby Walsh:

“Appreciate It is in good order – I just don’t think Willie Mullins really thought throwing him in against Honeysuckle who had a run under her belt and him with no run for his first start was possibly the way forward and basically that’s it. He’s going to have to take her on at some stage, I know that, but I think Willie Mullins was more than happy to have one go at her in Cheltenham rather than try to have two goes at her, one at Leopardstown and probably get beat and then have to get over that to go and take her on in the Champion Hurdle.

“He’s heading straight there and realistically, he is possibly her only rival. At the current odds, if you back him each-way you’ll get your money back if he’s second. I think he’s the only horse that can beat her, so backing him each-way is possibly a bet to nothing. I’d be shocked if he was out of the first three.

“There’s the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran Park in a couple of weeks which he could go to. Willie did run Cilaos Emery in that before he finished fourth in the Champion Hurdle. I can’t think of a horse that’s ever won the Champion Hurdle it first time up. My Tent Or Yours was second to Annie Power on his first run of the season, but he was second, he didn’t beat her.

“The only fresh opposition to Honeysuckle is Appreciate It and I’d be surprised if he was out of the first three. He’s the only one that could possibly beat her.”

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