Honeysuckle wins the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle at Punchestown

The winning connections of Honeysuckle after the mare's win in the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

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A record crowd of 40,984 came to Punchestown this afternoon to see Honeysuckle and the brilliant mare delivered.

The Henry De Bromhead-trained mare was a three-length winner over Echoes In Rain (18/1) with Darasso (33/1) another 4 lengths further behind in third place.

Honeysuckle tracked the race leaders in third place for much of the race and was ridden to challenge two out. The Rachael Blackmore-ridden mare kept on strongly in the run in and put three lengths between herself and the rest of the field as she stretched her unbeaten record to 16 wins.

Eventual runner-up Echoes In Rain kept on at the same pace to hold off Darasso by a further four lengths.

Twelve-time Grade 1 winner Honeysuckle has now claimed two Champion Hurdles at both Cheltenham and Punchestown as well as the Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Winning trainer Henry De Bromhead intimated post-race that the top-class mare is likely to have four runs next season prior to retirement.

Another Grade 1 for Townend and Mullins

Paul Townend and Willie Mullins added another Grade 1 success to their long list of victories this week as they combined with State Man (11/10f) in the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle.

The 2 mile 3 furlong contest saw the Cheltenham County Hurdle-winning five-year-old achieve a comfortable 7 lengths success from Flame Bearer (8/1) with Three Stripe Life (11/4) half-a-length further behind in third.

Jezarus (15/2), owned by the Cribben Family, won the Stanley Asphalt Hunters Steeplechase for the Bishopscourt Cup. Trained by Ted Walsh, the winning jockey Ian Cribben was having his first racecourse ride in the 2 mile 5 furlong contest which is restricted to farmers farming land in the Kildare Hunt District.

El Barra (8/1) was a winner for champion conditional jockey-elect, Jack Foley, when the eight-year-old won the EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase (Grade A), another winner this week for champion National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins. The Rich Ricci-owned brown gelding was third to Bob Olinger in his most recent start at the Cheltenham Festival last month.

Billaway completes Cheltenham-Punchestown Hunters Chase double

Billaway (11/8) was crowned Champion Hunter Chaser with victory in the Irish Daily Star Champion Hunters Steeplechase over 3 miles. Ridden by Patrick Mullins, Billaway followed up his victory in the Cheltenham Hunters Chase with success at the County Kildare venue this evening.

The even-money favourite Vaucelet was the winner’s only challenger throughout the contest but gave way to the Closutton runner by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

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