|Friday 17th April 2020|
Honeysuckle Continues Unbeaten Career Record with Impressive Festival Victory
The Cheltenham festival did go ahead this year but the Grand National was cancelled with people already looking ahead to the Grand National 2021 and whether the great Tiger Roll will return.
Going into the recent Cheltenham festival, the mares hurdle on the opening day turned out to be one of the most anticipated races of the festival with Honeysuckle taking on the Willie Mullins trained Benie Des Dieux. The latter was a previous winner of the race and would have also won the 2019 edition, before falling at the last. She also entered the race having ran out an impressive winner of the French champion hurdle, before returning with a remarkable 21 length victory in the Galmoy hurdle at Gowran Park.
This is why Benie Des Dieux was made the overwhelming favourite for the race, despite Honeysuckle entering unbeaten. The Henry De Bromhead trained mare has continued to progress through her career and there is now little doubt that she is one of the most exciting young horses in training. She was made the 9/4 second favourite for the race and it appeared a two horse race from the off. Honeysuckle had also entered the race off the back of a battling success in the Irish Champion hurdle at Leopardstown.
As expected, Stormy Ireland led the race and made much of the running. However, it was ran at a slow gallop so the field were bunched up turning for home. Honeysuckle tracked the leaders throughout the contest, before leading briefly from the fifth. Turning for home it appeared she was about to be boxed in only for Robbie Power to move and open a perfect gap for her up the rail. She took it in a flash and kicked on turning in. In comparison, Benie Des Dieux had to challenge going wide, with Honeysuckle getting first run on her.
Honeysuckle then kicked a few lengths clear and was still one length up at the last. Honeysuckle continued to find under pressure, with the favourite always held. There is little doubt that the race played in her favour and it could have been a different result on the day. Despite this, Honeysuckle extended her unbeaten career record to nine and is now without a doubt one of the most exciting horses in training.
1/1111-1111— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 10, 2020
Honeysuckle remains unbeaten and defies Benie Des Dieux in a fantastic Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle.
What a match-up in prospect, and it delivered alright! #CheltenhamFestival pic.twitter.com/llGfmMV4p0
Honeysuckle has now been made the general 4/1 favourite for the 2021 edition of the Mares hurdle. Benie Des Dieux is then the 5/1 second favourite and it will be fascinating were they to take each other on again next year. It sets up for an exciting season next year.