Paddy Energy Champion Hurdle preview: Honeysuckle primed to make it candy sixteen

Honeysuckle is primed to increase her undefeated report as she bids for a second Paddy Energy Champion Hurdle title at Punchestown on Friday.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained mare silenced any doubters on the Cheltenham Competition when retaining her Champion Hurdle title and preserving her flawless report to a ratio that now balances at 15 runs and 15 victories.

A two-and-a-quarter-length winner of this race final season, with connections of Structure Hill opting to maintain their powder dry the eight-year-old will face simply 5 rivals this time round as she seems to be so as to add a 16th triumph to her CV.

De Bromhead stated: “Honeysuckle is in mighty type since Cheltenham. She appears very well. She needed to battle to win at Punchestown race final 12 months however they went some tempo in it and I feel she did what she needed to do and was good on the day.

“I feel it is truthful remark to say she solely does what she must in an effort to win her races and that most likely has helped her maintain reproducing so constantly all through her profession.

“It is a privilege for all of us to be related along with her. She has been unimaginable since being purchased by Peter Molony and Kenny Alexander at Punchestown and we won’t wait to go once more.”

British pursuits are represented by the David Pipe-trained Adagio after his eighth-placed Champion Hurdle efficiency.

Previous to that the five-year-old has both gained or completed second in a string of huge races after a juvenile season that culminated in a top-flight victory within the Finale Juvenile Hurdle.

“I feel he’ll like situations, he is travelled over properly, there’s solely six runners and various prize cash on provide so we’ll attempt to decide up as a lot as we are able to,” stated Pipe.

“We had been going to go to Aintree however he wasn’t fairly proper so we needed to miss that, he hopefully comes right here a recent horse, we’ll put a pair of sheepskin cheekpieces on him as properly.

“I feel he’ll just like the observe, he is travelled over properly and appears in good type.

“There’s nonetheless the one runner that’s most likely unbeatable (Honeysuckle), however we’ll be giving the opposite 4 our greatest shot.”

The JP McManus inexperienced and gold silks shall be worn by two contenders, with Willie Mullins’ Saint Roi and Joseph O’Brien’s Darasso each in motion.

The previous completed fourth behind Honeysuckle at Cheltenham and within the Irish Champion Hurdle, whereas Darasso was a winner final day trip at a decrease grade when taking the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

“Darasso is a category horse,” stated Frank Berry, racing supervisor to McManus.

“He gained properly at Fairyhouse and might be up in opposition to it in opposition to the mare (Honeysuckle) however he goes there in good type, in successful type, and he will not thoughts the bottom so we’re hoping for an excellent run.

“He is very constant and is a good horse to have. He’ll hardly ever allow you to down.

“Saint Roi ran very properly within the Champion Hurdle. He was no match for the mare but when he turns up in the identical type and we get place cash, we’ll be blissful.”

Gordon Elliott’s Teahupoo, a six-time winner who upset when ending final within the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, and Mullins’ Echoes In Rain, final seen coming dwelling fifth within the Shut Brothers Mares’ Hurdle on the similar assembly, additionally take their likelihood.

On the identical card is the Alanna Properties Champion Novice Hurdle, one other six-runner affair and a race with three entrants from the Mullins yard.

The Cheveley Park-owned Deploy The Getaway and former Grade One bumper winner Kilcruit are each engaged, as is County Hurdle hero State Man.

Patrick Mullins, son of coach Willie, stated of the latter: “I might be very upset if he isn’t a Grade One winner sooner or later.

“He confirmed loads of pace to win the County Hurdle and it is nearly splitting up the novice hurdlers. There’s a unbelievable crop there going ahead for subsequent 12 months.”

Noel Meade and Elliott have a runner apiece in Highland Cost and Three Stripe Life respectively, with the sector then accomplished by Pat Doyle’s Flame Bearer.

The seven-year-old was gained his previous three begins, taking a Fairyhouse maiden earlier than touchdown the BetVictor Novice Hurdle at Naas after which the Tom Quinlan Electrical Novice Hurdle – each Grade Two occasions.

“He has progressed properly proper by way of the season, from his hurdling debut in Cork final December, when he pulled too arduous and blew up as a result of we might no gallop performed with him as a result of floor being so fast,” stated Doyle.

“He has realized to settle much better now and was a bit unfortunate in Naas earlier than successful at Fairyhouse after which the 2 Grade Twos at Naas and Fairyhouse once more.

“He confirmed an excellent perspective the final day after getting caught in a pocket to rise up and I could not be happier with him. He is in nice order.

“The purpose-to-points are our bread and butter nevertheless it’s highly effective to have a horse with good likelihood in a Grade One on the Punchestown Competition, particularly with (son) Jack driving and we’re trying ahead to it.”

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