Lucky 13 for Honeysuckle after Hatton's Grace Hurdle hat-trick


Rachael Blackmore guided Henry de Bromhead's superstar mare home at Fairyhouse for the third successive year

Sunday, November 28, 2021
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Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle made it a hat-trick of Hatton's Grace Hurdle wins


Henry de Bromhead’s superstar mare Honeysuckle extended her unbeaten run to a lucky 13 with a third consecutive Hatton’s Grace Hurdle victory, writes Josh Graham.
 
For the third year in succession, Rachael Blackmore guided the seven-year-old home at her favourite Fairyhouse by eight lengths to kickstart her season in style in the headline Grade 1 race on Sunday.

The heavy favourite watched on as Willie Mullins’ Stormy Island did all the early running, but the unbeaten Champion Hurdler and queen of National Hunt racing had it sewn up by the third last.
 
After claiming the BARONERACING.COM Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, De Bromhead said: “I’m delighted with that, Rachael was brilliant on her and they are just a lethal combination, in fairness to them. 
 
“She was really psyched before the race, she was trying to bite and kick and the only one who was getting away with it was me, actually.
 
“She probably gave me a fright last year so we might have done a little bit more this year for it, but when you’ve only so many runs – with a lot of mine I’d let them progress, but she was pretty straight.
 
“She’s an incredible mare and to be associated with her is amazing. The reception she’s got from everyone here is incredible.
 
“I’m at the stage now where I tell myself ‘she’s going to get beaten this time’. I’m nervous before she runs but we’re so lucky to have her as well. I had convinced myself all week that she was going to get beaten.”

Honeysuckle made it a magnificent seven out of seven wins in races at Fairyhouse and De Bromhead indicated she would be heading for the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown next. 
 
He added: “I think it will be the Irish Champion Hurdle next, touch wood she’ll be OK. That route has worked before so we can back off her for a few weeks now, we haven’t really discussed anything after today. 
 
"It’s fantastic to have [owner] Kenny (Alexander) and his family over today and it’s amazing.”
 
De Bromhead lauded “brilliant” Blackmore for not letting Stormy Ireland get too far out ahead after Mullins’ horse bolted to the front of the field virtually from the off.
 
The win came as Honeysuckle stepped back up in trip having not raced over 2m4f since winning this contest last year and De Bromhead reiterated just how lucky he feels to have her under his command.
 
He added: “We have run her on quicker ground, in her maiden hurdle, but it was safe today.
 
“They were racing from a long way out. Stormy Ireland went a right gallop and we saw at Punchestown last year, you wouldn’t want her getting too far in front but Rachael was aware. 
 
“She (Stormy Ireland) stopped quite quickly, so then I was looking for the dangers behind. I just have to try to remember how brilliant Rachael is and try not to worry as much. How lucky are we to be associated with her.”

 

Rachael was brilliant on her and they are just a lethal combination.

- Henry de Bromhead

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