Rachael Blackmore retains “full confidence” in Honeysuckle forward of her bid for a fourth straight victory within the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.
Regardless of touchdown the Dublin Racing Competition showpiece in every of the previous three seasons, in addition to back-to-back victories within the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, Henry de Bromhead’s famous person mare will return to Foxrock as one thing of an underdog after struggling the primary defeat of her profession final day trip.
That eclipse got here within the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse, a race she has additionally received on three events, the place after travelling along with her trademark zest into the straight, she was reeled in and handed by each Teahupoo and Klassical Dream, seeing her overwhelmed for the primary time in 17 begins.
Blackmore admits that reverse got here as a blow, however insists she was not disillusioned along with her efficiency and is assured she is going to put up a staunch defence of her crown this weekend.
Talking on a press name after being unveiled as a brand new ambassador for Betfair, she mentioned: “It was clearly very disappointing that she bought overwhelmed, however she put up an excellent efficiency in defeat and we transfer on to the Irish Champion Hurdle.
“I feel it was a mixture of very robust opposition on that [soft] floor over that journey [two and a half miles]. That mixture was in the end what resulted in her getting overwhelmed.
If I had misplaced the religion in Honeysuckle, it could be a really poor reflection of what we have achieved
“Teahupoo is an excellent horse, as is Klassical Dream, and I actually do really feel that she nonetheless ran a particularly good race.
“She could not be any higher at house and Henry is delighted along with her. I clearly love using her, I am actually trying ahead to it and hopefully she places up a superb efficiency.”
On account of her Fairyhouse eclipse Honeysuckle is barely second within the betting for Sunday’s characteristic, with the Willie Mullins-trained State Man the clear favorite so as to add to his earlier triumphs this season within the Morgiana at Punchestown and the Matheson at Leopardstown.
Blackmore, nevertheless, is paying no consideration to the chances and believes anybody who writes off her long-time ally does so at their peril.
“She’s been unimaginable, she’s unbeaten in Leopardstown and I actually would not be underestimating her in any form or type – she’s the one all of them have to come back out and beat,” she added. “There’s all the time stress using Honeysuckle and with reference to who’s favorite and who is just not favorite, that’s by no means one thing I take a lot discover of, to be sincere.
“I am on her again and I’ve full confidence in her. If I had misplaced the religion in Honeysuckle, it could be a really poor reflection of what we have achieved.”
Whether or not Honeysuckle will bid for a 3rd Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham subsequent month seems depending on how she performs on Sunday, with a change to the Mares’ Hurdle at Prestbury and even retirement talked about as a risk by her connections.
Blackmore is absolutely conscious the final day she is going to trip the nine-year-old is drawing nearer and she or he is intent on having fun with each second of the journey whereas it continues.
She mentioned: “She’s been unimaginable for my profession. Each jockey has a dream of with the ability to trip one thing like Honeysuckle and I am so fortunate that I’ve had the affiliation along with her.
“We bought a incredible reception in Leopardstown final 12 months – it was one among my favorite moments in racing coming again into the winner’s enclosure. There was an unimaginable ambiance and there was such anticipation earlier than the race as properly, it was incredible.
“It could be unimaginable for her to win a fourth Irish Champion Hurdle. As far when that affiliation goes to finish, we all know it is not going to go previous this season, however I do not look too far forward.
“My fundamental focus is on this Sunday and getting over that and we’ll look to the following factor then, however I do not actually fear myself with issues which might be too far down the road.”