Henry de Bromhead enjoyed a Cheltenham Festival to remember in 2021 and he is hoping to celebrate further success when he heads to Prestbury Park for this year’s prestigious meeting.
The Waterford handler scored three major victories in the Cotswolds 12 months ago, with Put The Kettle On landing the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Honeysuckle triumphing in the Champion Hurdle and Minella Indo heading a one-two with stablemate A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup.
All four of those horses are back to defend their titles this year, although Minella Indo’s (5/1) hopes of repeating his Gold Cup heroics are uncertain after he was pulled up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The nine-year-old did return to better form when finishing second in last month’s Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and De Bromhead is confident of the defending champion’s prospects ahead of the Festival, as well as those of A Plus Tard (7/2), who was a Grade One winner in the Betfair Chase at Haydock back in November.
“They’re both in great form and really well this year. A Plus Tard worked really well the other day and Indo had a great run in the Irish Gold Cup, so they’re both really good,” De Bromhead said regarding his Gold Cup hopefuls, as per Sky Sports.
Hopes are also high in the De Bromhead camp that Honeysuckle (4/9) can defend her Champion Hurdle crown, with the daughter of Sulamani having warmed up for her Prestbury Park return with a victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle last month.
That was the unbeaten mare’s 14th win in a row and De Bromhead is confident she can make it 15 in Tuesday’s feature race at the Festival.
“We took the view that ‘if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it’ and we stuck with the same route as last year. Touch wood, it’s gone well so far,” the trainer revealed.
“It looks a very good race, as you’d expect with any Champion Hurdle. I thought last year’s looked very good as well.”
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Put The Kettle On’s (16/1) hopes of landing another Queen Mother Champion Chase appear less clear cut, with the eight-year-old having struggled to rediscover her best form since her victory 12 months ago.
De Bromhead is keeping the faith, however, and is going all out for Champion Chase glory after resisting the temptation to instead enter Put The Kettle On in the Grade Two Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase.
“She’s turning her bottom and getting angrier again and fresh, which is a good sign. She worked really well the other day, so we’re delighted with her,” the 49-year-old added.
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