Honeysuckle extended her winning run to four with an imperious display in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final at Fairyhouse.
Forced to miss Cheltenham due to a minor setback, Henry de Bromhead’s five-year-old was kept in the perfect position throughout by Rachael Blackmore, just behind the front runners.
It was clear turning into the straight that nothing was travelling as well as the 6-4 favourite, who jumped clear at the second last still on the bridle.
While she was slightly awkward at the final flight, it did not halt her momentum and Honeysuckle sprinted clear to beat Elfile by five and a half lengths with Cheltenham winner Eglantine Du Seuil three lengths back in third.
After her Cheltenham Festival double, it was a first Grade One win on home soil for Blackmore.
“It was very frustrating at the time when she missed Cheltenham, but Kenny (Alexander, owner) and Peter (Molony, racing manager) said you have to do what’s right for the mare, and thankfully their patience has been repaid,” said De Bromhead.
“She just went a bit flat and we weren’t happy with her, but she was back in good form about two weeks after Cheltenham.
“She’s some five-year-old and has achieved so much already. She’s won over two, two and a half and looks like she could go further again. She jumped really well today, bar one, and is a really exciting mare.
“She’s in the two-and-a-half-mile novice on the Friday of Punchestown so we’ll see how she is.
“Rachael said she just wanted to keep it simple. She got a lovely position and had her jumping great. I said to her beforehand that you don’t need to drive on too early, but then I saw her taking a pull after the second last and said you can drive on now all right!
“It’s been a phenomenal year for both of us, she’s a huge part of our operation and we are very lucky to have her.”