Honeysuckle provides poignant victory on fairytale end to her career

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  • Honeysuckle delivered a richly deserved fairytale ending to her career when gritting it out to win the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival today (14 March).

    Ridden by Rachael Blackmore, owned by Kenneth (‘Kenny’) Alexander and trained by Henry de Bromhead, the nine-year-old mare bows out with two Champion Hurdle and two Mares’ Hurdle victories at the Cheltenham Festival, 13 Grade One wins and over £1.4m in prize money to her name.

    The victory was all the more poignant following the death of Henry’s 13-year-old son, Jack, last September.

    “We all wish a very special kid could be here today – I’m sure he’s watching down on us,” said an emotional Rachael after the race. “She was unbelievable today. The way Henry has produced her every day is phenomenal and she has been incredible for my career. Everyone down in Knockeen [Henry’s yard] who has looked after her – she’s a credit to everyone and Kenny is one of the coolest owners you could ride for.”

    The winner’s enclosure was one of the most emotionally charged following the race, with everyone well aware of the significance and meaning of this victory following Jack’s death.

    “I just wanted Honeysuckle to win for them [the de Bromhead family] and we did it and I’m so happy for Henry, his family and his stable,” said Kenny. “He is an amazing trainer and a top bloke.”

    Rightfully so, Henry drank in every moment of this victory, repeatedly punching the air.

    “It’s the fairytale ending. It’s what you dream of happening – it’s incredible and it means a lot to all of us,” said Henry. “She’s an incredible, awesome mare and we’ve had so much fun with her. It’s been an amazing few years and I’m very lucky to have had her.”

    Of Honeysuckle’s career and impending retirement, Henry said to Racing TV: “I think it’s done. We rolled the dice and we got the fairy tale.”

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