Morgan Treacy/INPHO
leopardstown racing

Honeysuckle does it again in Irish Champion Hurdle

Magnificent mare now unbeaten in 14 outings under rules – three in the Leopardstown showpiece.

Honeysuckle took her unbeaten record to 14 when winning the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle for a third time at Leopardstown.

Henry de Bromhead’s brilliant mare powered away from her four rivals under Rachael Blackmore after jumping the second-last flight to secure her 10th Grade One success.

It was a straightforward triumph for the eight-year-old, who will defend her Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham next month.

The early pace was set by Heaven Help Us with Zanahiyr, who made a bad mistake at the first hurdle, close up in second place.

There was little change in the order until Blackmore made her move on Honeysuckle after jumping the third-last.

The 1-5 shot moved supremely into the lead and put several lengths between herself and the opposition to quickly put the race to bed.

rachael-blackmore-onboard-honeysuckle-comes-home-to-win Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Honeysuckle went on to score by six and a half lengths from Zanahiyr, with Echoes In Rain staying on for third place.

De Bromhead said: “Brilliant, it’s absolutely brilliant. They were great again, the pair of them. I’m delighted.

“She looked great, jumped well I thought throughout – maybe went a little bit left at one of them – but winged the second-last and took off again.

“It felt a long straight after the last, but she was brilliant and we’re delighted.

“It was great, aren’t we lucky to have her?

“Just the atmosphere here today has been amazing.”

He added: “Every second person you meet says my daughter or son is a massive fan of Rachael and Honeysuckle. It’s incredible, it’s a dream for us to be involved and we feel very lucky.

“It’s just great having everyone (crowd) back and isn’t it great she was able to do it on the day.

“We did a lot when there were no crowds around so it’s brilliant to see the crowd appreciating her and giving her and Rachael the reception they got.”

In the Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle, Sir Gerhard capped a great day for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend finishing ahead of Three Stripe Life with ease. 

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