We are Sweet on Honeysuckle in Paddy Power
25th Apr 2022
25th Apr 2022
Racing Heavyweight Honeysuckle ready to wow packed Punchestown grandstands
On the eve of Katie Taylor putting her unbeaten record on the line in the boxing ring, jump racing’s heavyweight Honeysuckle is back in Town for the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle and has an unbeaten record of her own to extend.
In a career that began in a point-to-point at Dromahane on 22nd April 2018, Honeysuckle has refused to let any of the 131 rivals she has met since beat her to the winning post. On Friday, 29th April, 2022, she will look to make it 17 consecutive victories, which already include last year’s renewal of the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle and two versions of the Cheltenham equivalent.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained, Kenny Alexander-owned and Rachael Blackmore-ridden superstar heads the seven entries confirmed this morning at the latest forfeit stage and her trainer gave an upbeat bulletin on his stable star.
“Honeysuckle is in mighty form since Cheltenham,” said the trainer. “She seems really well. She had to battle to win at Punchestown race last year but they went some pace in it and I think she did what she had to do and was good on the day.
“I think it’s fair comment to say she only does what she needs to in order to win her races and that probably has helped her keep reproducing so consistently throughout her career.
“It’s a privilege for all of us to be associated with her. She has been incredible since being bought by Peter Molony and Kenny Alexander at Punchestown and we can’t wait to go again on Saturday.”
Honeysuckle’s potential rivals on Friday include the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante, a winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2020, who was successful in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle this month.
Fellow English trainer David Pipe, saddles Adagio, while the field is completed by the Gordon Elliott-trained Teahupoo and Willie Mullins’ pair, Echoes In Rain and Saint Roi.
The penultimate day of the season also includes the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle in which Three Stripe Life will look to follow up his Aintree success with another Grade 1 triumph for Gordon Elliott.
He faces stiff opposition from the Willie Mullins camp however, most likely in the form of County Hurdle winner State Man and Supreme Novices’ Hurdle third-placed Kilcruit. Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo have also been left in the race by the champion trainer, as have Minella Crooner and Hollow Games by Elliott but all four are declared to run earlier in the week.
Pat Doyle does have a very interesting contender in Flame Bearer, who has bagged two Grade 2 prizes since shedding his maiden status in a progressive campaign. In all, there are 18 left after the forfeit stage.