Honeysuckle will face five rivals in her bid for back-to-back victories in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Henry de Bromhead’s superstar landed the feature event on the opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival last season, before going on to beat Benie Des Dieux in an epic battle in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last March. BoyleSports have made Honeysuckle the 6/4 favourite from 13/8 as she bids to extend her unbeaten run this weekend to ten, with Sharjah her closest rival in the betting.
The Willie Mullins trained gelding was the star on day four of the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown as the eight-year-old son of Doctor Dino landed the Grade One Matheson Hurdle for the third year in a row and is 2/1 to add the Irish Champion Hurdle to his CV.
Mullins also trains 2020 County Hurdle winner Saint Roi (7/1) and 2019 Morgiana Hurdle winner Saldier (12/1) with Gordon Elliott’s Abacadabras at 6/1 and last year’s third Petit Mouchoir at 20/1.
The Dublin Chase is shaping up to be an exciting renewal with Mullins’ Chacun Pour Soi and Min taking each other on once again. Min landed the Grade One contest in both 2018 and 2019 but was no match for Chacun Pour Soi twelve months ago and the latter is a well-backed 4/9 favourite for back-to-back victories.
The field for Saturday’s showdown is completed by Notebook (7/1) and 25/1 shots Tornado Flyer, Fakir D’oudairies and Sizing Pottsie 25/1.
Sarah Kinsella, spokesperson for BoyleSports said: “Racing fans around the globe will be glued to their TV screens this weekend as the fantastic Dublin Racing Festival takes place at Leopardstown. Henry de Bromhead’s Honeysuckle is a well-fancied 6/4 favourite from 13/8 to win back-to-back Irish Champion Hurdles while Chacun Pour Soi is being picked out as one of the bankers from the meeting at 4/9 to deliver another Dublin Chase for Willie Mullins.”
Irish Champion Hurdle
7 Saint Roi
20 Petit Mouchoir
4-9 Chacun Pour Soi
25 Fakir dOudairies
25 Tornado Flyer
25 Sizing Pottsie