May 20, 2024

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Jack Kennedy with Teahupoo after victory in the Hatton's Grace

Hatton’s Grace Hurdle: Honeysuckle beaten for first time as Teahupoo takes Fairyhouse crown for Gordon Elliott | Racing News

Teahupoo caused a shock in the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle as Honeysuckle’s unbeaten run came to an end at Fairyhouse.

Henry De Bromhead’s mare has begun her season by winning this contest in each of the last three years and went to post looking to create history by becoming the first four-time winner of the Grade One hurdle.

Starting what is likely to be her last season in training, everything seemed to be going to plan for the eight-year-old and her ever-present accomplice Rachael Blackmore when they cruised to the lead two from home.

But Willie Mullins’ Klassical Dream and Teahupoo were in striking distance at the final flight, and it was Gordon Elliott’s 20/1 shot who pulled out most in the closing stages to prevail on the line.

De Bromhead said: “It’s a horse race and unfortunately she got beaten and that’s it. We’ve had some run with her for so long and there we go. They’re going to get beaten one day. She’s been incredible and fair play to the winner.”

Teahupoo had been comprehensively beaten by Honeysuckle at both Cheltenham and Punchestown last term, but Elliott felt conditions may have been against his charge on those occasions, with Fairyhouse’s soft ground a much better fit.

He said: “He was very good last year on soft ground and we ran him on good ground a couple of times which was probably a mistake but we are still learning about the horse. Jack gave him a wonderful ride. He let it all happen in front of him and there is only one winning post.”

Teahupoo and Jack Kennedy (right) win the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle from Klassical Dream (centre) and Honeysuckle (left)
Image:
Teahupoo and Jack Kennedy (right) win the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle from Klassical Dream (centre) and Honeysuckle (left)

‘I thought the mare was unbeatable’

Teahupoo’s owner Brian Acheson admitted to mixed feelings in victory.

He said: “That was unexpected. I came here wanting Honey to keep winning and if we finished second, that was brilliant.

“We have such a close association with Kenny (Alexander, Honeysuckle’s owner) and Henry. I’m genuinely in shock. I thought the mare was unbeatable – it will hit me tonight. There is a ting of sadness that the run is ended. I just hope she comes back and beats Constitution Hill (at Cheltenham)!”

Honeysuckle is now an 8/1 shot with Coral to rack up a third Champion Hurdle win at Cheltenham in March, with Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill cut to 2/7 from 4-7 for the Festival highlight. Betfair offer 5/1 about Honeysuckle’s chance in the Mares’ Hurdle, a race she won in 2020.

Mighty Potter gives Elliott a seventh Drinmore title

Mighty Potter made a statement in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse to give Elliott his seventh win in the race.

A dual Grade One winner over hurdles last season, he added his third top-table prize and first over fences when landing the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One by a cosy four and a half lengths.

One of two in the race for the contest’s most successful handler, Mighty Potter was always up with the pace in the hands of Jack Kennedy and produced an exhibition round of galloping and jumping.

Mighty Potter and Jack Kennedy win the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Steeplechase
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Mighty Potter and Jack Kennedy win the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Steeplechase

Kennedy looked to have plenty of horse still underneath him when briefly pressed by Gaillard Du Mesnil in the home straight but ultimately had too many gears for his more experienced rival after the last, storming clear for an impressive victory.

Elliott, who has won the race with the likes of Envoi Allen (2020), Delta Work (2018) and his Gold Cup hero Don Cossack (2013) in the past, saw Three Stripe Life pulled up following a mistake by Davy Russell.

But all the focus at Cullentra House will be on the winner, who was cut to 5/1 from 10s with Coral for the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.