Honeysuckle Enhances Cheltenham Festival Claims with Stunning Success at Fairyhouse

Honeysuckle extended her winning run to four with an ultra-impressive display in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival to earn herself a top priced quote of 33/1 for the Champion Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.

The Henry De Bromhead trained five-year-old was also cut into a best price of 6/1 with bet365 for the  Mares’ Hurdle at the four-day spectacular, – and that race looks the more obvious target..

Honeysuckle was forced to miss this year’s Cheltenham Festival due to a minor setback, but gained compensation in facile fashion under jockey Rachael Blackmore.

After being sent off the well-backed the 6/4 favourite, Honeysuckle travelled ominously well throughout and jumped clear at the second last on the bridle.

Form Looks Strong

She then overcame a slight mistake at the final flight before quickening clear to beat Elfie with any amount in hand. Cheltenham Festival winner Eglantine Du Seuil was a further three lengths back in third, so that gives the form a rock solid look and marks Honeysuckle out as a leading contender for next year’s Cheltenham Festival – whichever race connections decided to run her in.

A delighted De Bromhead said: “She’s some five-year-old and has achieved so much already. She’s won over two, two and a half and looks like she could go further again. She jumped really well today, bar one, and is a really exciting mare.

“Rachael said she just wanted to keep it simple. She got a lovely position and had her jumping great. I said to her beforehand that you don’t need to drive on too early, but then I saw her taking a pull after the second last and said you can drive on now all right!

“It’s been a phenomenal year for both of us, she’s a huge part of our operation and we are very lucky to have her.”

Cheltenham Festival

Is Voix Du Reve Another Al Boum Photo?

Voix Du Reve provided Willie Mullins with back-to-back successes in the Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse. The master of Closutton sent out 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo landed the spoils 12 months ago  and the Andrea and Graham Wylie owned gelding looks an exciting prospect judged on the way he disposed of stablemate Real Steal by 5 1/2 lengths.

It was a welcome change of fortune for the Wylies who sadly lost horses in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup Gold Cup and the Grand National.

Ruby Walsh got Voix Du Reve settled travelling strongly behind the leaders and when the pacesetting Mengli Khan dropped out of contention turning for home the result never looked in doubt at any stage.

Real Steel tried to throw down a challenge approaching two out but Voix Du Reve only had to be ridden out and kept up to his work by Walsh  to register a comfortable success.

Punchestown Festival Next on the Agenda

Mullins said: “It’s great for Graham Wylie, who hasn’t had the luckiest of seasons, and it’s nice to get a Grade One for him.

“He’s a very keen horse who is probably bred to get a bit further. Now that he’s relaxing a bit more in his races, he’s getting a bit further.

“He was travelling well when he went in the JLT at Cheltenham, but he’s got his compensation today.”

Voix Du Reve looks the type that could develop into an interesting contender for either the Ryanair over 2m 5f at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival or, like Al Boum Photo, a Gold Cup horse.

He is currently not quoted in the ante post betting for either race, but that could well change if he follows-up in the in the Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival – so that is definitely a race to watch for clues as to his future.