Will Honeysuckle retire before Cheltenham Festival or run in the Mares’ Hurdle?

It's been decided...

Honeysuckle wins the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival


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Honeysuckle ran valiantly in defeat in the Irish Champion Hurdle but retirement is beckoning for the three-time Cheltenham Festival winner.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead’s superstar mare will be given one last hurrah at the March meeting, however, despite a crack at a third successive Champion Hurdle being ruled out by connections.


That is because connections have decided to pursue the Mares’ Hurdle – a race Honeysuckle won in 2020 – for her final assignment on the track.

Peter Molony, who manages owner Kenny Alexander’s racing interests, tweeted: “One last hurrah for Honeysuckle! Barring accidents, injury, illness or extremes of ground, she will be prepared for another tilt at the Mares’ Hurdle.”

Honeysuckle failed in her quest for a fourth Irish Champion Hurdle as State Man came out on top by 4¾l.

Speaking after the race, Alexander suggested that she could be sent to the breeding shed.

“Maybe the time has come,” he said. “It’s up to Henry – if he wants to chuck it in now, just get her out, safe and sound. She’s still very high class, but not as good as she was.

“She ran her heart out but age catches up with them all.”

He added: “We will definitely not be taking on Constitution Hill after that because she’s so brave I would fear for her and we are not fannying around for place money.

“Young pretenders – certainly one of them – has overtaken her, and there is one in England.

“I’d dread for anything to happen to her now.”

Honeysuckle went into her final campaign boasting an unbeaten status but could only finish third in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on seasonal reappearance before finding State Man too hot to handle at Leopardstown.

De Bromhead echoed Alexander’s sentiment about swerving the Champion Hurdle and highlighted the prospect of tackling the Mares’ Hurdle – a race Honeysuckle won in 2020.

“The plan was to finish out this season and we’ll see. It’s not for me to say,” he said.

“If it was up to me I wouldn’t be running her in the Champion Hurdle, if we were to run again I’d run her in the Mares’ Hurdle. I wouldn’t like to force it. She’s still in mighty form and she ran really well.”

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