This afternoon (15 March) Honeysuckle put herself firmly into the record books when becoming the first mare to win two Champion Hurdle titles at the Cheltenham Festival, adding to her first victory in 2021.
The eight-year-old mare, who is owned by Kenneth (‘Kenny’) Alexander, trounced her nine rivals to come home three-and-a-half lengths clear under top jockey Rachael Blackmore, for trainer Henry De Bromhead.
“It’s incredible to win – I’m so lucky to ride winners here and especially on this mare,” said Rachael after the race. “It’s amazing to have crowds here too, as opposed to last year when there weren’t any [owing to Covid restrictions], and also great to have Kenny here too.
“Honeysuckle is an amazing mare and she decides in a race when she’s happy to go and I haven’t stopped her from doing that yet! There’s a lot of work that goes into her at home and the team there deserve all the credit for this.”
This victory means Honeysuckle remains unbeaten, and her winning streak has extended to a remarkable 15 races. The crowd showed their appreciation for this wonder mare’s outstanding achievements, which include 11 Grade One wins, with rapturous scenes around the racecourse.
“To win is unreal and it was incredible to get the roar from the crowd,” said trainer Henry. “And to have her owners here is brilliant. It’s a never-ending fairytale.”
Owner Kenny said: “I’m very relieved and Henry deserves enormous credit – he’s a lovely guy to have train my horse and Rachael absolutely smashed it.”
Former top jockey Ruby Walsh shared his evaluation of the race on ITV Racing, saying: “Rachael was riding to win and it was brilliant to watch. Honeysuckle has got speed and she jumps – she’s a phenomenal horse. These two are proper superstars.”
Fellow mare Epatante ran a great race to finish second under Aidan Coleman for trainer Nicky Henderson and owner JP McManus, while Zanahiyr, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Jack Kennedy, was third for owners Bective Stud.
About the Champion Hurdle
The Cheltenham Champion Hurdle is a Grade One National Hunt hurdle race, run over two miles and half a furlong with eight flights of hurdles to jump. The race is held on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival in March, which runs from Tuesday-Friday, and a massive highlight of the National Hunt season.
When is the 2022 Champion Hurdle?
The race started at 3.30pm on Tuesday 15 March.
How to watch the Champion Hurdle
If you’re looking forward to settling down the watch the race from home at 3.30pm on Tuesday 15 March, then don’t miss our armchair viewing guide, which includes how to watch the Champion Hurdle on TV and much more.
What is the prize money for winning?
The winner of the 2022 Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy will take home £253,215.
Who were the runners in the 2022 race?
Horse: Honeysuckle | Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
Trainer: Henry de Bromhead
Appreciate It| Jockey: Paul Townend
Teahupoo |Jockey: Robbie Power
Epatante | Jockey: Aidan Coleman
Adagio | Jockey: Tom Scudamore
Zanahiyr | Jockey: Jack Kennedy
Tommy’s Oscar | Jockey: Danny McMenamin
Saint Roi | Jockey: Mark Walsh
W P Mullins
Glory And Fortune | Jockey: Stan Sheppard
Not So Sleepy | Jockey: Jonathan Burke
2021: Honeysuckle – read the race report
2020: Epitante – read the race report
2019: Espoir D’Allen – read the race report
2018: Buveur D’Air – read the race report
2017: Buveur D’Air – read the race report
2016: Annie Power – read the race report
2015: Faugheen – read the race report
2014: Jezki – read the race report
2013: Hurricane Fly – read the race report
2012: Rock On Ruby – read the race report
2011: Hurricane Fly – read the race report
Winning-most trainer, horse, jockey and owner
The all-time leading Champion Hurdle trainer is Nicky Henderson, who has so far won it a total of eight times, thanks to See You Then (1985, 1986, 1987), Punjabi (2009), Binocular (2010), Beveur D’Air (2017, 2018) and Epatante (2020). Five horses have won three Champion Hurdles, which is the current record. These are Hatton’s Grace (1949-51), Sir Ken (1952-54), Persian War (1968-70), See You Then and Istabraq (1998-2000). Three jockeys have won the race four times, which sits at the current record. These are Tim Molony, Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty. And the leading Cheltenham Gold Cup owner, J. P. McManus, has so far won it nine times – three times with Istabraq, as well as with Binocular, Jezki (2014) and Beveur D’Air.
The history of the Champion Hurdle
The Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdle race in the calendar. The race was first to run in 1927. That inaugural race was won by Blaris, earning connections £365.
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.