Henry De Bromhead is lining up the Irish Champion Hurdle for "incredible" Honeysuckle after brilliant Fairyhouse win
Henry De Bromhead is lining up the Irish Champion Hurdle for "incredible" Honeysuckle after brilliant Fairyhouse win

Henry de Bromhead says unbeaten star Honeysuckle will more than likely take a familiar route and defend her Irish Champion Hurdle next this winter after storming to a third Baroneracing.com Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse. 

The mare is now enjoying an ongoing, incredible run of 13 races unbeaten under rules and secured her ninth Grade One victory as Ronald Pump, who was also runner-up in this race last year, was left trailing by eight lengths on Sunday. 

Early leader Stormy Ireland and Ronald Pump had briefly threatened to make a fight of things but Honeysuckle pulled clear when approaching the second-last fence and she ran clear to seal a convincing victory. 

Star jockey Rachael Blackmore guided the seven-year-old home superbly once again and De Bromhead confirmed the plan now is to go to the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown in February for the Irish Champion Hurdle, which she has also won for the last two years. 

He said: "I think it will be the Irish Champion Hurdle next, touch wood she'll be OK. That route has worked before so we can back off her for a few weeks now, we haven't really discussed anything after today." 

Honeysuckle is then expected to defend her Champion Hurdle title at the Cheltenham Festival in March and De Bromhead, who admitted to being nervous before the race as the mare's unbeaten tag was again on the line, paid tribute to his winning horse and jockey combination. 

Henry de Bromhead paid tribute to Honeysuckle/Blackmore partnership
Henry de Bromhead paid tribute to Honeysuckle/Blackmore partnership

He added: "I'm delighted with that, Rachael was brilliant on her and they are just a lethal combination, in fairness to them. She's an incredible mare and to be associated with her is amazing. 

"The reception she's got from everyone here is incredible. 

"I just have to try to remember how brilliant Rachael is and try not to worry as much. How lucky are we to be associated with her."

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