Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle were the toast of the Cheltenham Festival on day one after their incredibly emotional victory in the Mares Hurdle on Monday, overshadowing the mighty Constitution Hill who had bolted up in the Champion Hurdle just minutes previously.
A burst of speed after the final flight carried her to a one-and-a-half length win against.
Honeysuckle's win now means the horse bows out with 17 career wins from 19 starts over hurdles, including four Cheltenham Festival successes.
The nine-year-old horse is also best known for the 2021 and 2022 success in the Champion Hurdle.
Her rider Rachael Blackmore speaking after the race to Betfair said: “She’s great - what a day we had yesterday. It’s just brilliant, a fairy-tale way for her to end.
“To come back into that reception was incredible. She has given me such incredible days throughout my whole career, but yesterday was so, so special.”
It was a lovely feeling when I was about halfway to the finish line.
“She travelled really well throughout the race and jumped really well. Coming down to the last, I knew she would pick up a little bit but you're never really sure how much until you land after it.
💙 Honeysuckle does it again!!
A champion of champions for the great @HenrydeBromhead what a legend. 🇮🇪🥇#CheltenhamFestivalpic.twitter.com/ejneccDc22
— Stephen R Power (@racingblogger) March 14, 2023
“It was a lovely feeling when I was about halfway to the line, I knew we were getting on top of Love Envoi, who equally ran an unbelievable race. It was just a fantastic race.”
The Tipperary native also paid tribute to Henry de Bromhead's son Jack de Bromhead (13) who tragically lost his life last year.
“We all wish a very special kid was here, but he’ll be looking down on us, "added Blackmore after the win.
Henry de Bromhead went onto say: “You dream of the fairy-tale ending but, so often, it doesn’t happen.
“Most of it is for Honey because she has been so unbelievable, but everyone has shown us so much support. We’re really grateful for that. It’s been an incredibly tough time.
“We know Jack is always with us and I’m sure he was here on Rachael [Blackmore]’s shoulder. Honeysuckle has been a huge part of our life and Jack just adored her – so she as much did it for him as she did for all of us.”
Day two of the festival gets underway at 1.30.