Horse Racing

Sweet bang for the buck for the golden girls of Cheltenham

CHELTENHAM, UK – There’s the Horse, and then the Honeysuckle (GB). Think it might seem like a sacrifice to compare the hurdler superstar to the greatest racehorse of the modern era, there hasn’t been a better winning streak on the pitch since then. Frankel (GB) moved it to the ranch a decade ago, and Honeysuckle hasn’t stopped.

Sulamani’s daughter (Ire) is now a Champion Hurdle double winner, Irish Champion Hurdle treble winner, unbeaten in 15 rule-starts, plus her first win in the match a spot at Dromahane when he was four years old. It is the maiden triumph of still being the raw frame of a sassy girl that makes Peter Molony, the hobby manager of the racing and livestock hobby of Honeysuckle owner Kenny Alexander, and on his behalf. bought the mare at the Goffs Punchestown HIT Sale for €110,000.

Clearly emotional when Honeysuckle was led from her third straight win at the Cheltenham Festival, Molony admitted, “I’ve looked at her pedigree and I’m not interested. But I’m working for Goffs and I think I’d better go see her. And to do what she did in a time when she was just such a big horse was quite a challenge. Then I just had to convince Kenny. “

It was an understatement to say that Alexander would be glad he did. For now there is no bigger star in the National Hunt race than Honeysuckle. The mare’s luster is enhanced immensely by her unbreakable partnership with Rachael Blackmore, who owned Cheltenham last year with six Festival wins. All that was missing after that was the famous roar, but the boy got her once and Honeysuckle this time.

With crowds returning to Prestbury Park two years after the world came to a near standstill as the pandemic hit, the people packing the floors that make up the boisterous grandstand around the Cheltenham winner’s enclosure have Give it its most dazzling beauty when the golden girls come back victorious once again.

“It was unbelievable to walk back there,” Blackmore said. “I have never felt an atmosphere like that. There was not a moment of silence. People here, it’s just a great crowd, a great atmosphere. It’s easy to say when you win, but it’s a very special place and to hear those cheers this year has been special. ”

She continued, “Part of me was thinking that I should be more nervous before the race, but I actually have a lot of faith in her. It would be weird if I didn’t, because she never let me down. She is amazing. Henry [de Bromhead] take her to races every day in his style, and it’s an incredibly difficult feat, to train a horse to win all those races in a row. “

While Blackmore was happy to put his trust in his faultless mount, Molony confessed that nerve was on him.

“Honestly, the weeks before her race, it was torture,” he said. “But it was first-world torture, and we’ll enjoy it now in retrospect.”

He added, “She’s eight now and we can see next year being her last.”

Whenever Honeysuckle retired, she would become an important mare at Alexander’s New Hall Stud in her native Scotland, a famous farm run by the Thom family, the group winners’ breeder. 1 Donna Blini (GB), who has become more famous as the dam of Japanese superstar Gentildonna (Jpn).

Alexander, who mainly races mares with the aim of forming a formidable national band of hunting hens, has most of his horses trained in Ireland, and the British-British Honeysuckle, a graduate of The Glanvilles Stud has based in Dorset, is a giant horse credit to her trainer Henry de Bromhead, who annus mirabilis in 2021, which included landing Cheltenham’s divine trio of Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup, and then adding his first Grand National success to the mix.

Four of the last seven runs of the Championship Hurdles have been won by mares, the last two by Honeysuckle, who was beaten by Epatante (Fr) (No Risk at All {Fr}), the winner. win 2020, send home on Tuesday. Second coach Nicky Henderson has had a lot of success in that race over the years, with his eight wins stretching back to 1985, and even though he had to finish second in the feature race in day, he will return to Lambourn a happy man on Tuesday Evening.

Henderson took his first blood draw at Prestbury Park in the afternoon and sent it out Organization Hill (GB) (Blue Bresil {Fr}) and Jonbon (Fr) (Walk In The Park {Ire}) finished first and second in the fiercely competitive G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices ‘Hurdle race. He then scored again in the G1 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle with Marie’s Rock (Ire) (Milan {Ire}) for Middleham Park Racing.

Henderson, the most successful Briton, said: “We had four runners-up today and if you told me this morning I had four in the first two. All-time coach at the Festival with 72 wins. “In golf, you have to play for your age, so when you’re 66 you have to lap 66 etc. I’m 71 so this week’s first winner brought me to that and we deposited one in the bank for next year in case I didn’t last. ”

With 23 horses set to run at Cheltenham this week, Henderson is the best representative of British trainers but his team has become relatively insignificant compared to the army amassed from his stables. Irish by Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, who have 71 and 68 potential athletes, respectively.

Mullins had to wait until the last race of the day to claim his first win at the Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Challenge Cup with Stattler (Ire) (Stowaway {Ire}), ridden by his son Patrick. In recognition of the serious troubles outside the bubble of Cheltenham Festival, the six runners in the finale all wore saddle scarves in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, while the runners wore blue and yellow armbands throughout. all day.

Edwardstone A Homegrown Star

The prices of top National Hunt horses may have skyrocketed beyond the reach of many owners but there is still the quirky fairy tale being written, even in Cheltenham. And it would be hard to find a more heartwarming result throughout the season than Edwardstone (GB) (Kayf Tara {GB}) in the G1 Sporting Life Arkle Trophy.

Raised by his owners Robert Abrey and Ian Thurtle, the 8-year-old has been the star of this season for Alan King, who for the past 12 months has been represented by double-wins group 1 stay. Trueshan (Fr) (Planteur {Ire}) and Group 2 Asymmetric Minors (Ire) (Exhibition {GB}). Results like these are testament to his all-round skill as a horseman, but it’s the dance world that King has more easily associated with over the years, and in Edwardstone he has competitive prospects. up against formerly stable stars like Voy Por Ustedes (Fr), My Way De Solzen (Fr) and Katchit (GB).

Abrey and Thurtle, two old friends in Norfolk, now have only Edwardstone’s dam, the 17-year-old Nothingtoloose (Ire) (Luso {GB}), in their oars. She will soon be a participant in the Midnight (GB) Referendum (Midnight Legend {GB}), a four-time winner of 2nd place and the daughter of their late adopter Forget The Ref (Ire) (Dr. Massini {Ire}). Both the latter and Nothingtoloose were campaigned by the two in the point-to-point field before retiring from stud school, and are both now black producers.

Edwardstone, who won the treble in hurdles, has been one of the revelations of the season since the start of the chase and, after being knocked down on his debut in November, hasn’t looked back, remains undefeated in his last five matches.

“Dreams come true,” says Robert Abrey, praising the results, “Adrenaline is working a little bit at the moment. We were just trying to breed a nice horse and this guy turned his back. “

He added, “We are just a few amateurs. We looked down the list even in our padding and thought ‘what am I doing here?’. Alan gave it away and the horse can be quite optimistic as a child. It’s really credit to Alan and his team at Barbury Castle for all the work they’ve put on this horse over the past three or four years. “

With Nothingtoloose heading to Ireland to visit Walk In The Park (Ire) this season, the mare will be represented by another runner in the coming days as Edwardstone’s full sister Nothingtochance (GB) is brought in. to debut in bumper at Southwell on Monday.

As James Thomas outlined in Tuesday’s TDN, the numbers are stacked against British breeders in the National Hunt division but the opening day at Cheltenham was one of the highlights in that respect, with three Tier 1 winners carrying the suffix GB. And, as also mentioned, the top jumpers are usually not too far behind the first place runners on the Plane.

A reminder of that was sent by Brazil (Ire), winner of the Boodles G3 Minors Competition to coach Padraig Roche, who won his first Festival with a runner-up. Firstly. At this time last year, Galileo’s 4-year-old son (Ire) was still in the care of Aidan O’Brien in Ballydoyle, where his eldest brother Capri (Ire) was also training to win the St Leger for the tournament. Coolmore partners. Capri, bred, Brazilian breed, by Lynch Bages Ltd and Camas Park Stud, is now in captivity at Grange Stud and has been given a pretty good update by his brother at the start of his career as how to be a National Hunt steed.

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