Cheltenham Festival: Team Honeysuckle keeps Champion Hurdle and Mares’ Hurdle options open after Dublin Racing Festival | Race news


Bromhead’s Henry says Honeysuckle’s plans will not change beyond the Dublin Festival of Races, with whether he can claim a third win in the Champion’s Hurdle at Cheltenham by taking on the impressive Constitution Hill, which could depend on his performance at Leopardstown.

He has eyed the winning mares’ hurdle in 2020 as a trainer alternative, although Peter Moloney – racing director for owner Kenny Alexander – suggested in a recent interview that it could be a champion hurdle or a retirement.

Honeysuckle could have taken a fourth Hutton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse after going the straight last month, but his efforts faltered between the last two races and he eventually lost by three lengths to finish third behind Teahupoo and Klassical Dream.

De Bromhead said: “We’ll see how it goes but both options at Cheltenham are open. The Mares Hurdle is definitely an option and the Champion Hurdle is definitely an option.

“I think we’ll see how the All-Ireland Champion Hurdle goes and we’ll all sit down and do Peter’s quotes, debate together!

“I think the most important thing is that we keep all our options open. I think my job is to find a race where I can win.

Teahupoo and Jack Kennedy (right) win Bar One Racing’s Grace Hurdle Hatton with classic Dream (centre) and Honeysuckle (left).

“It might not be something we do. Looking at Constitution Hill at the moment, he’s 1-3 no matter what his grade. I’m not saying the mares will be easy to run, but if all the players show up, you may have a better chance of winning than the champion.

“But first we have to get over the hurdle of the All-Ireland champions and that’s a big challenge for us. We have a lot to do in between.”

De Bromhead does not expect to relinquish her star mare crown lightly when she wins her fourth consecutive victory in the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Constitution Hill and Honeysuckle could be set to challenge in the Champion Hurdle

The nine-year-old looks back on a recovery mission Sunday after suffering the first loss of her 17-career career.

This immediately caused some to wonder if the great mare had gone over her head during the eclipse, but De Bromhead insisted there were no signs of her waning strength at home.

“He’s looking great now, really good,” said the Waterford County manager. “I thought he ran well at Fairyhouse, maybe not at his best but I think he ran very well in his first race back.

Honeysuckle and Rachel Blackmore trail the rest of the field in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham
Honeysuckle trails the rest of the field in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham

“It could have been two and a half miles where it was very soft at the end. He was beaten by a real soft ground specialist at Teahupoo and Klassical Dream is a top class horse.

“It looked like he put it on the bed between the last and the last, and then they got to him and that was it.

“We don’t see anything else here. Maybe it will be on the track, I don’t know. Everyone is happy. He looks good.’

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