Defending Champion Hurdle queen Honeysuckle will remain over hurdles for the upcoming 2021/22 National Hunt campaign, connections have confirmed.
The duel Cheltenham Festival successor sauntered to an easy success on the opening day of the 2021 renewal and went onto further her unbeaten record when winning at Punchestown on her most recent start.
Talk had continued of a potential emulation of the great Dawn Run, who became the only horse in history to win both the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup when taking the blue ribbon event in 1986.
But Henry de Bromhead’s charge, despite her point-to-point history, will not bid to match the legendary mare’s remarkable achievement – yet.
The handler told the Racing Post: “Honeysuckle will stay over hurdles, that is what everyone has decided. She’s the defending champion and she will hopefully go back and defend the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
“It’s great and I cannot wait for her to come to me next week. We’re all very excited about that.
“I’d imagine she will go down a similar route to last season and we’ll look at the same races for her but we haven’t discussed any of that yet so nothing is set in stone.”
The County Waterford yard have some exciting recruits to the chasing sphere next season which will have undoubtedly played a part in the decision to side with timber over steeple fence for the daughter of Sulamani.
Bob Olinger looks set for a switch to the larger obstacles following his easy Festival win back in March and is top of the market for the Marsh Novices’ Chase.
JCB Triumph Hurdle king Quilixios was a late member to Knockeen and maintained his winning streak at Prestbury Park after a fine performance under Blackmore on the fourth and final day four months ago.
He disappointed on his next start but could be another we see head for novice chasing later this campaign.