Appreciate It will attempt to end one of the most dominant runs of form in the National Hunt when he takes on Honeysuckle at Cheltenham Festival in the Champion Hurdle. Honeysuckle is the defending champion in the event and has won her last 14 races in a row.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge is the leading contender in the Cheltenham horse racing bets on the Champion Hurdle given her prowess on the track over the course of the season. Appreciate It on the other hand has not been in action in a year since dominating the field in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival. Despite his lack of time on the track, Willie Mullins’ charge is still touted to make a strong run for the crown in the Champion Hurdle tips on the sheer basis of his pedigree.

The Irish thoroughbred appears to have all the credentials of a champion, but toppling the incredible Honeysuckle without a year of racing will be a difficult challenge. Either Mullins knows something about his charge that the rest of us do not, or the legendary trainer is simply backing Appreciate It to blow away Honeysuckle with his outright pace. It will be fascinating to see whether Mullins’ gamble pays off on the grand stage, especially in a race where he has not been successful of late.

The Irishman had won the Champion Hurdle four out six times between 2011 and 2016, which included two victories for his horse Hurricane Fly along with triumphs for Faugheen and Annie Power. Since then he has been forced to watch Nicky Henderson win three times with Buveur D’Air in back-to-back seasons along with Epatante in 2020. Gavin Cromwell’s Espoir d’Allen was a surprise winner in 2019 when Buveur D’Air fell at the third hurdle, presenting the Irishman with his first victory in the race, whereas Mullins’ horse Melon finished second in the contest.

De Bromhead entered the scene with Honeysuckle last season, and Mullins could only finish second once more with Sharjah, who has previously placed as a runner-up behind Epatante. It appears that history could be repeating itself for Mullins in the event unless Appreciate It can produce a truly remarkable outing with his first run of the campaign. The Irish thoroughbred won all four of his races in the 2020/21 campaign, including his brilliant performance in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

There were good horses in the field in the event last season, but none of the calibre of Honeysuckle or even Epatante. Without measuring the quality of his charge over the course of the season, Mullins is leaving a lot to chance and in the hands of jockey Paul Townend.

Although Townend is one of the most accomplished jockeys in the sport, notably thanks to his two Cheltenham Gold Cup wins with Al Boum Photo, he has not won the Champion Hurdle. Rachael Blackmore outshone the Irishman last season, and will be in a position to do so again with Honeysuckle in the event. There is a lot of pressure on Mullins and Townend for Appreciate It to at least compete against a formidable opponent.

Tom Marquand A graduate of the British Racing School, Tom Marquand became apprenticed to Richard Hannon in 2014 at the age of 16. He rode his first winner, Mecado, in a lowly selling stakes race at Kempton in December that year. In his first full season, 2015,  much to the delight of horse racing betting fans, he rode 67 winners and won the apprentice jockeys’ championship. In 2016, he rode a further 63 winners, thereby riding out his claim and, during the winter, enjoyed a brief, but successful, spell with Australian trainer David Hayes.

In 2017, increased his winning tally to 86, including his first Group winner, Anna Nerium, in the Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury. In his next three seasons, Marquand rode 105, 136 and 147 winners, finishing fourth in the Flat jockeys’ championship in 2019 and third in 2020.

In early 2020, he returned to Australia, joining Sydney trainer John O’Shea, for whom he won both the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Addeybb, thereby recording his first Group 1 successes.

It’s no surprise really that he was drawn to Australian racing and experienced his first Group 1 success there, with its reputation for both top class Group 1 and feature races. This month alone, we have the likes of the Cox Plate and the Victoria Derby to look forward to. Held at Moonee Valley, Melbourne the Cox Plate is a 2040 meter race steeped in history – its origins can be traced back to 1920. Prize money for the race is a staggering $5,000,000 AUD and this year it will be held on 23rd October. Current favourite to win is the Sir Michael Stoute trained and Ahmad Alotaibi owned Zaaki at 2/1 (despite his current shock defeat coming third to Probabeel and Nonconformist at Caulfield). Racing fans will no doubt be using the best betting apps in Australia to place their wagers on this much anticipated race.

The Victoria Derby, held a week later on 30th October, is a group one race held at Flemington racecourse with still impressive prize money of  $2,000,000 AUD. Dating back to 1855 (yes you heard that right!) last years winner was Johnny Get Angry.

Both events really though can be considered somewhat secondary to the Melbourne Cup which is held early in the following month. Even in these covid times, such is the excitement and anticipation of the events that it is due to have an attendance of 10,000 as part of Australia’s re-opening plan. The Melbourne Cup, held at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, and first held in 1861 is known as the richest two miler handicap in the world  and has prize money of a very weighty $8,000,000 AUD. Those in the running to win this years race (Held on 2nd November) include the Peter Moody trained Incentivize and Spanish Mission.

Outside of Australian racing, Marquand rode his first Group 1 winner on home soil, Galileo Chrome, in the St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster that September, having picked up a ‘spare’ ride after original jockey Shane Crosse tested positive for Covid-19. On New Year’s Eve, 2020, Marquand announced his engagement to fellow jockey Hollie Doyle, whom he originally met at pony camp ten years previously.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are here to stay. Once an abstract concept, NFTs now permeate music, art, and sports. The rise of crypto technology has made it possible to buy, breed, and virtual racehorses. Those horses cost real money, and some of them can reach quite impressive sums. Learn more about this new and promising trend in this article.

NFT Racehorses Explained

Understanding the Concept

NFT is a kind of digital asset stored on a blockchain, ensuring this asset is unique. Blockchain technology also guarantees proof of ownership for every NFT. Recently, The Burned Picasso project has turned one of the master’s works into an NFT. Afterwards, the original burned in a stunt.

The main point behind the project was that Picasso’s works could live forever unchanged as NFTs. The concept of the digital asset has migrated to other fields, and horse racing seems to be a hot trend. Through a platform called Zed, people can buy digital horses, breed them and train them.

Once you’ve worked your stallion to a competitive level, it’s time to try it out. Digital horses don’t get tired, so races are going around the clock, 24/7. It’s even gone so far as being open for gambling enthusiasts to wager on their favourite horse on platforms such as NetBet.

A Multi-Million Dollars Market

Digital horse racing is gaining traction and attracting jaw-dropping investments. Investors are willing to pay as much as €100,000 for breeding horses online. Never-stopping races have also created a gambling market for enthusiasts. Transactions are usually made in Ethereum, being Bitcoin a second option.

Digital Breeds

Breeding a champion is a complex and expensive process. Horses can be bred or bought according to their bloodlines. There are 4,000 original bloodlines and countless variations of them.

The first and most costly ‘generation’ of those lines counts 38,000 horses. People also buy and resell those horses in a secondary market. Top-race awards can reach six figures, while smaller ones will return only a few bucks.

Hall of Fame

Zed platform already has a few successful cases. Pinkman’s won over 12.5 ETH (32,600 USD), while Steph Curry’s brought home 11.8 ETH (30,800 USD). Horses like Pinkman and Steph Curry can breed three times a month and charge for it. A mare can breed only once in the same period.

NFT Racehorses Explained

Controversies

Digital horse racing is incredibly famous among crypto enthusiasts. It’s an environment where cryptos are more than welcome, after all. Here are the main points for and against NFT horse racing.

No Animal Suffering Involved

Fans and investors defend that digital breeding and racing can potentially end animal suffering in this sport. Because no animal is involved, races can happen all day long. The breeding process is incredibly realistic, and users can be sure to own a truly unique item.

Environmental Impact

Cryptocurrencies aren’t generated for free. An NFT transaction in Ethereum can consume up to 8.7 megawatts/hour. Comparatively, it’s more than double an average British household consumption in one year. The pressure for a ‘green cryptocurrency’ is rising, but there’s no release date at sight.

Conclusion

NFT Racehorses Explained

NFT horses have been attracting fans and investors lately. Some companies and startups are investing in full ‘stables’, up for breeding and reselling. Still, there’s space for those after a hobby, esports betting, or simply watching the race.