Invincible Honeysuckle wins Champion Hurdle again

Cheltenham wrap 2022

Honeysuckle (3/1 2023 Champion Hurdle) continued her fabulous unbeaten run as Rachael Blackmore rode the eight-year-old to victory in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Henry De Bromhead’s stable star was the odds-on favourite in the ante-post betting and she predictably powered through to win Tuesday’s feature race.

It was a day of landmarks with Honeysuckle becoming the first mare to win the Champion Hurdle twice, in what was her 15th consecutive victory

She finished ahead of 2020 winner Epatante while Zanahiyr finished third.

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Appreciate It, making a seasonal reappearance after winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year, could only manage seventh for Willie Mullins.

Speaking after the race, Blackmore – last year’s Grand National winning jockey – praised her charge.

“Walking out in front of the stands with all the people, it’s such a special place,” she said.

“I’m so lucky to ride winners here and this mare – she’s just incredible.”

Elsewhere, Nicky Henderson had a successful opening day of the festival with two winners.

It was a Henderson one-two in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as Constitution Hill (2/1 2023 Champion Hurdle) roared home to win the opening race with Jonbon second – after Mullins’ Dysart Dynamo fell midway through.

Henderson also won the Mares’ Hurdle with Nico de Boinville saddling Marie’s Rock to victory, narrowly beating Gordon Elliott’s Queen’s Brook.

Hot-favourite Edwardstone landed the Grade One Arkle Chase for a fifth consecutive win as Alan King’s eight-year-old finished comfortably ahead of Gabynako.

Corach Rambler came through the 24-horse field to win the Ultima Handicap Chase after a superb sprint finish on the home stretch.

Mullins did eventually get a win in the final race of the day as Stattler won the National Hunt Challenge Cup while Brazil took the spoils in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle for Padraig Roche.

Wednesday’s feature race is the Queen Mother Champion Chase where Shishkin (10/11) and Energumene (7/2) will continue their fascinating duel after the former beat the latter in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January.

Double Grand National champion Tiger Roll (13/8) is also in action in the Glenfarclas Chase – his last race before retirement.

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