Honeysuckle will return for one final season in a bid to join the Champion Hurdle greats | horse racing news

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Honeysuckle (right) and Rachael Blackmore with A Plus Tard and Bromhead's Henry at home on Monday

Honeysuckle (right) and Rachael Blackmore with A Plus Tard and Bromhead’s Henry at home on Monday

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

by Mark Boylan

Historic phenom Honeysuckle will keep training for one final campaign next season, raising the possibility of a climactic conclusion to his career in the 2023 Champion Hurdle against Constitution Hill.

Rachael Blackmore’s trusted ally would join an elite group should she win a third Champion Hurdle next March and is priced 7-2 to emulate Hatton’s Grace, Sir Ken, Persian War, See You Then and Istabraq. Constitution Hill, the runaway winner of Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last week, is the 2-1 overall favorite to end her reign.

Speaking at a welcome event for Bromhead’s Henry Cheltenham Festival heroes at the trainer’s Knockeen base on Monday, Peter Molony, racing manager for owner Kenny Alexander, said: “Taking any horse to the races fit and good 15 times and never being beaten is an amazing achievement. And with a mare it’s much more difficult. Everything is extraordinary.

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Honeysuckle: 7-2 to retain their Unibet Champion Hurdle crown next March

Honeysuckle: 7-2 to retain their Unibet Champion Hurdle crown next March

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

“We’ve talked about it in the last couple of days and I think the plan is for her to have one more season. Hopefully she gets a chance to come back to Cheltenham again for the Champion Hurdle.”

De Bromhead said last week’s Champion Hurdle win was probably the moment that provided more relief than any in his racing career, with the win kicking off a memorable week during which he saddled up 1-2 in the Gold Cup. for second consecutive Year.

The trainer described Constitution Hill as “hugely impressive” winning 22 lengths in the festival’s inaugural event, but believes Honeysuckle still sets the standard in the two-mile hurdle division.

‘Please respect our lady’

Of Bromhead he said: “Regardless of the sheer ability she has, she’s a phenomenon in my opinion. But also in terms of solidity; she shows up whenever we want her. There are a lot of things that make a great horse, and I’m surprised some people even question your ability.

“Speaking of times, Honeysuckle is better off with a faster pace. They were probably too slow for her in the Champion Hurdle. If they had gone faster it would have suited her better.”

He added: “I am in no way criticizing Constitution Hill, it was very impressive, but respect our lady. What she has achieved is unbelievable. If you want to use the term ‘monster’ with Constitution Hill, it’s okay on what the other did.” day, absolutely, but she’s the weird one.

Mike Hewitt (Getty Images)

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Honeysuckle on his way to another Champion Hurdle win

Honeysuckle on his way to another Champion Hurdle win

Mike Hewitt (Getty Images)

Plans for the De Bromhead Gold Cup Galactics are yet to be finalized, but it seems likely that A Plus Tard will have run their last race this season, while Minella Indo could tackle the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup.

“It was amazing,” De Bromhead said of the Gold Cup final. “I couldn’t believe I made it to the end. Seeing them side by side, it’s just things you have to pinch yourself for.”

Bob Olinger capitalized on the dramatic final fence exit from Galopin Des Champs to clinch the Chase for Turners Novices, with De Bromhead saying: “He’s booked some checks we have to run. Rachael just wasn’t happy with him.”

“I never thought I’d see a horse hit him like Galopin Des Champs was hitting him before the last one. Rachael said he made a noise I’ve never heard him make before after the second to last and he just emptied himself on her.” . We need to dig a little deeper and see.”

He added: “I think he would be stepping up the ride but I wouldn’t want to judge him at all on what he showed last week because I don’t think it was him.

“Ideally, we’d hope he could end up being a three-mile jumper in time. He’s not a fancy jumper, we never thought he’d be a two-mile jumper.”

Blackmore displayed outstanding coolness and confidence to bide his time in the Gold Cup trading finale at A Plus Tard when Minella Indo kicked clear approaching penultimate.

Reliving the moment, the driver explained: “He had told me before the race that this was where he wanted to be. [Minella Indo] continued, this was what I wanted. I didn’t want to be next to her sleeping.

“I was happy to let it play out and watch it play out. It happens quickly. Even if I wanted to go somewhere, I wouldn’t have been able to.”

“Having a foot spin like that with a stay put is amazing. He showed something similar by winning the rookie handicap chase in 2019. This was at the end of a Gold Cup though.”

“Sometimes you can hear or feel a horse coming up behind you, or you can hear the commentator’s voice change, but at Cheltenham you can’t hear that with the noise and the atmosphere.

“I couldn’t believe when I came back and someone told me we had won by 15 lengths. It was a phenomenal performance.”

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