Honeysuckle leads Beacon Edge over the last© Photo Healy Racing
Unbeaten Honeysuckle recorded consecutive wins in the featured Baroneracing.com Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse today as the Cheltenham Mares Hurdle winner scored on seasonal reappearance, for trainer Henry De Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore.
The daughter of Sulamani was today having her first run since her Cheltenham heroics and was returned the 4/11 favourite in the six-runner race.
Honeysuckle moved to the front at the second last and while Beacon Edge and Ronald Pump gave chase on the run-in, Honeysuckle responded well for pressure and eventually held staying-on Ronald Pump by half a length, with a head to Beacon Edge in third.
Honeysuckle was today following Drinmore Chase winner Envoi Allen in preserving remarkable unbeaten records, as the six year old mare is now unbeaten in a point-to-point and nine hurdle races, five of which have come at Grade 1 level.
De Bromhead was thrilled with the win and later reported “it was a tougher race than the odds suggested but there is no easy Grade 1.
“It was great to see her win on her first run back but I'm delighted with the performance.
“Last year the Irish Champion Hurdle didn't do us any harm so we might look at that but we'll see how she is after today and makes plans.
“You'd always be tempted by races like the Champion Hurdle (in March) but we'll head for the Irish Champion Hurdle and then maybe we will firm up on plans.”
Jockey Blackmore, registering her own tenth career Grade 1 win, added “she was brilliant and it’s great to get her back to do that today. She was coming into this without a prep run this season and it’s a great result for everyone in the yard.
“She was jumping her hurdles a bit better today and is maturing.
“She might have been just feeling it a bit on her first run after the last but she gets the job done every day. She’s very special and I’m lucky to be getting the leg up on her.”
Paddy Power left Honeysuckle unchanged at 3/1 for the Cheltenham Mares Hurdle and also left her at 16/1 for the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle, behind 2/1 favourite Epatante.
Quotes from Alan Magee