Appreciate It novice chasing campaign put on hold says Willie Mullins

Ante-post Arkle favourite Appreciate It will not now be taking up that or any other chasing engagement this season after a slight setback means he will be staying over hurdles.

Trainer Willie Mullins placed the talented seven-year-old to win all four of his starts over hurdles last season, culminating in that breathtaking 24-length success in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

However, the Closutton handler has revealed that a planned novice chasing campaign has been shelved due to a minor problem.

Appreciate It had been expected to pick up where he left off last season with success over the larger obstacles this term and was a warm order for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham in March, without having jumped a fence in public.

However, having failed to get him to the track so far this season, Mullins confirmed his charge will now stick to hurdling for the time being.

Bookmakers reacted to the news by slashing Appreciate It's odds for the Champion Hurdle to a general 6-1, making him their second-favourite behind defending champion Honeysuckle, who is the 4-5 market leader.

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