The first day was enjoyable Cheltenham Festival When honeysuckle lowers the curtain extraordinary career with an emotional triumph Close Brothers is at Mares’ Hurdle.
The radiance of Henry de Bromhead’s superstar had apparently waned this period, and it was decided that this duo Champion Hurdle hero would return to the Festival’s debut for the swan song.
And the nine-year-old did not disappoint her fan base, showing all the qualities that have made her one of the most beloved and admired sarees of the modern era.
9-4 joint favourite, always said goodbye to the loyal jockey Rachel Blackmore Honeysuckle took second place from start to finish, following Love Envoi running ahead, and the lineup remained the same until last, even as the herd overflowed as the pitch descended the hill.
When the Love Envoi refuses to reach out, the brave mare Honeysuckle gallops up to Cheltenham hill once again, sinks to the bottom of the well, and is a giant one-and-half-length victory.
The win placed him fourth at the Festival, earning 17 of his 19 career starts, leaving him one of the all-time greats.
The later reception reflected not only Honeysuckle’s performance but also the sincere love for De Bromhead and his family, who lost his son Jack in a tragic pony racing accident in September.
De Bromhead said: “A fairytale ending that normally never happens. Unbelievable. Very happy for the filly, Rachael and Kenny (Alexander, owner) and all of us. This (welcome) is what he deserves. She’s an incredible mare. I’m surprised.
“We had a lousy year with Jack and everything else. We’ve had an incredibly difficult time and we are truly grateful for everyone’s support.
“You imagine these things will happen, but most of the time they don’t. It was the result everyone wanted, but you wouldn’t dare believe it would happen.”
The County Waterford trainer felt it was justified to let Honeysuckle succumb to his own breed after Constitution Hill’s breathtaking early-afternoon performance at the Champion Hurdle.
He added: “He’s been in great form all year and thankfully we picked the right race when you saw the other lad at the Champion Barrier!
“I was a little worried jumping to the last one – I thought Love Envoi was upon us. But Honeysuckle rarely understands when she’s beaten and reads the script.”
When asked if Honeysuckle’s racing career was definitely over, De Bromhead replied, “I guess so, but Punchestown has the Mares Champion Barrier!
“Then I’ll buy Kenny a few drinks, Peter Molony (race manager) will say ‘Walk In The Park’ in one ear and I’ll go ‘Walk to Punchestown!’ I will say.”
Still, Alexander has firmly confirmed that his outstanding mare will be retiring as he considers his “best day ever in the race”.
“It’s really surprising. The Scotsman said, “It’s great that Henry and his family got this victory.”
“I never said he was the greatest hurdler ever, of course not. In fact, he may be the previous one (Constitution Hill), but he has to be one of the bravest and most beloved. People here love it and people in Ireland adore it.
“I said he couldn’t win a Champion Barrier after Leopardstown, but if he’s still running to a form level that can win a Mares, let’s go – so what if he loses?
“This is a fitting farewell. I don’t want to go to Punchestown. It would be nice to do this in front of the Irish, and if they want to take him there to show off, I’d be more than happy to do so, but I don’t want to run him into the well. once very often.
“He’s reaching the top now – nothing really compares to him. Let him enjoy his retirement. One million percent, this is my best day in the race.”