Ruby Walsh: One horse could challenge Honeysuckle in next year’s Champion Hurdle

Ruby is full of praise for Honeysuckle, Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead

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Ruby Walsh believes Honeysuckle’s Champion Hurdle victory was the result of masterful training from Henry de Bromhead and feels it will take something incredibly special to prevent a second triumph at the Cheltenham Festival next year.

Half-a-mill from Henry: Paddy punter pockets €575,000 from €20 De Bromhead bet

Our Paddy Power ambassador also lauded Rachael Blackmore for her ride aboard the seven-year-old mare, but did suggest the Irish jockey put in better performances on some of her five other winners at Prestbury Park last week.

Speaking on the latest From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruby speculated about the plan for Honeysuckle going forward and also tipped up one horse that might just have the potential to challenge the unbeaten Champion hurdler.

Rachael Blackmore gave other horses better tactical rides through the week than she did Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle as the race set up for her, but she rode the horse as you should ride it.

She didn’t get Honeysuckle on her head, and just sat where she was comfortable to travel then she didn’t chase too early. It was a brilliant performance, but for me it was Henry de Bromhead’s best training performance of the week as well.

He has allowed Honeysuckle to progress all through her career, resting the temptation and urgings of others to step her up in Grade too soon. He has allowed her to mature and her last two performances have been her absolute best.

She’s still improving, and that was a 10/10 training performance.

4/5
Honeysuckle Champion Hurdle (Antepost)

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I wouldn’t go to the Aintree Hurdle over 2.5m as it’s three weeks from Cheltenham to Aintree. I would be going to Punchestown if she was mine, and I think a lot of the Irish horses will go there. Punchestown will be epic, when you think of all the Cheltenham winners that could turn up.

Looking forward, Honeysuckle has no chance of winning a Stayers’ Hurdle. If she goes up in trip, it will be over fences. She won a point-to-point, so she’s a good jumper, but I couldn’t see her go up in trip over hurdles – at least not in the Stayers’ Hurdle anyway.

Maybe when she’s a bit older and on the demise, she might look like she wants a trip, but right now what is going to beat her in the Champion Hurdle next year?

Appreciate It is likely to go chasing, but Ferny Hollow is one who might be able to. He would be in his second season and has to step into open company, so he could be the one.

14/1
Ferny Hollow Champion Hurdle (Antepost)

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What do you think?