It had to be. Honeysuckle’s final race had to end with a win and Rachael Blackmore produced the goods with her as she stormed past Love Envoi in the final furlong to take an emotional win. Despite the Constitution Hill win earlier, Honeysuckle was without a doubt the most popular winner of the day as the Punters took another win over the bookies.
It was the fairy tale finish that nobody thought could actually happen but this horse is just remarkable. At Cheltenham she has found a home where she consistently shines and after securing her fourth win here, it’s time for the nine-year-old to call it a day.
It was an emotional win for the De Bromhead family as they sadly lost 13-year-old Jack de Bromhead in a racing accident back in September. This win was dedicated to him by Blackmore and on a remarkable opening day the Festival, yet another favourite won.
"We all wish a very special kid was here but he'll be looking down on us,” the winning jockey said after the race. "She's a phenomenal mare who has been amazing for my career. She's a credit to everyone."
The roar when she returned to the parade ring was louder than the one that got proceedings underway at 1.30 and one of the great legends of hurdling completes a terrific career in the most fighting way.
There’s sure to be a whole host of winning accumulators from today as the last four races were won by the pre-race favourite, as the bookies receive one hell of a kicking on the first day. For Rachael Blackmore, it was an impressive performance throughout.
She found herself in the lead early on but Love Envoi on the outside took the lead with no horse wanting to take the initiative particularly. The leader was going well with seven to go, but it was a steady gallop from a group waiting for a sprint finish.
Honeysuckle was in a good position while Marie’s Rock was struggling in midfield, up against the rail. The crowd cheered as they came around again, as Honeysuckle set out on her final lap of this famous racecourse. With four to go the pace quickened but once again Honeysuckle was perfectly placed on the shoulder of the leader.
Marie’s Rock was trying to get into contention in third with the rest of the pack coming round the outside. Well-grouped, Love Envoi increased the pace on from the front but there was only one horse that wanted to take her on. The fantastic Honeysuckle produced the most brilliant finish to a remarkable career.
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It's a fairytale 4th!
She's signed off in some style
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