She really is a remarkable horse and continued her unbeaten career record with yet another Grade One victory, as she landed the Paddy Power Champion hurdle at Punchestown. Honeysuckle was drifting in the run-up to race, much of this due to the struggling stable form across the week but on the day, she was then well supported, which saw her sent off as the 4/7 favourite. It was another high class field, with all the key contenders from the Champion hurdle at Cheltenham taking part.
Honeysuckle was held up behind the leaders from the off under Rachel Blackmore but made headway from just before five furlongs out. She was then disputing third place from four out and then moved up and led very easily from two furlongs out, where she was soon clear. Honeysuckle was then pushed along but still five lengths clear but then put the brakes on coming to the last and this was at the same time that Sharjah was making a strong late challenge. It resulted in a much reduced lead but Honeysuckle was then able to kick from the last and was ridden out to win by just over two lengths, with a huge gap of 10 lengths back to the Nicky Henderson trained Epatante in third.
This victory meant she extended her career record to 12 wins from 12 starts and it does not appear likely that she is going to be beat if she maintains her form, as she has such a fantastic will to win and all the ability in the world. The markets are already available for next season and she is as short as 9/4 to defend her title in the Champion hurdle come Cheltenham, with pundits already putting her up for the victory on guides, like those available at Betminded. If she returns and is fit and well, then she is going to be the odds-on favourite for the race no doubt, so this could prove to be fantastic value, even at this very early stage. Let’s hope she can return to the same form as this season and maybe even improve, then she could go down as one of the all-time greats of the sport.