Leading Jumps Mare HoneySuckle Set For Hatton Grace Return


Henry De Bromhead's hurdling star Honeysuckle is looking to start her campaign off at the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse later this month with the mare looking to defend her crown after bolting up in the Grade One event last term.

Honeysuckle has a been a star for the yard over the last two years and on all four of her starts last term had been pretty much faultless by winning twice at Fairyhouse including in the Grade One Hatton's Grace Hurdle, she then narrowly stayed on to take the Irish Champion Hurdle before landing her first Cheltenham festival winner when seeing off Benie Des Dieux in the Mares Hurdle.

Overall the Kenneth Alexander-owned six-year-old has claimed eight wins in a row, if including her point to point race aswell and having showed her class against the best in the mares division at the festival it looks as though her handler is eyeing up another crack at the event in March.

(Credit ATR) De Bromhead said: “She’s brilliant and we’re very lucky to have her. It was a great performance that day (last year). She seems in good form so hopefully she can have another good go at it this time.

“The first day (she ran) she was good, but she’s just progressed and progressed. She’s not a mare that would take a huge amount of work, so you wouldn’t be working her a lot at home.

“Fairyhouse seems to have a lot of nice mares’ races there and they provide such good ground for their bigger days, so it’s great to be able to run them there. By coincidence as much as anything, she’s done a lot of racing there.”

Although the team are looking at the Mares Hurdle at the festival, they are also keeping an open mind to the idea of running her in the Champion Hurdle having landed the Irish equivalent last term.

De Bromhead said: “If she’s in the same form as she was last year, we would start in the Hatton’s Grace and probably aim for the Irish Champion Hurdle and then reassess everything after that.

“I imagine if everything has gone well, she will get an entry for the Champion Hurdle and the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and we’ll see nearer the time what we decide to do.”

Another possibility for the mare is the new Grade Two Mares Chase on the Friday at Prestbury Park, but it looks as though she will stay over hurdles until she puts a foot wrong.

The handler aded:“She’s achieving so much over hurdles, but in fairness to her, some days she loose schools over a fence so she’s keeping her eye in with it and, touch wood, she seems very good with it. We’ll see, but that could happen.”