Setback forces Honeysuckle to miss Festival date

Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle hope will not run at Cheltenham

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Honeysuckle has been ruled out of next week’s Cheltenham Festival after suffering a setback.

A winner of her only start in the point-to-point sphere, Henry de Bromhead’s mare is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles – most recently impressing at Grade Three level at Fairyhouse.

She was a best priced 7-2 second-favourite for next Thursday’s National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – behind the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante – but will not be making the trip across the Irish Sea.

De Bromhead said: “Unfortunately Honeysuckle won’t be running at Cheltenham. She’s not 100 per cent, so we’ll leave her at home.

“She’s a very good mare with a big future, so we’ll look after her.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to go to Fairyhouse and Punchestown.”

Honeysuckle was one of two high-class mares bound for the Cotswolds for De Bromhead and owner Ken Alexander along with Sinoria.

The latter looked likely to take on the boys in Wednesday’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, but could now take Honeysuckle’s place the following afternoon.

De Bromhead added: “Sinoria is in good form and I’d say it’s almost certain she’ll now run in the mares’ novice.”

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