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Horse Racing: Heaven Help Us heading to Leopardstown

It was at the Dublin Racing Festival where Paul Hennessy's Heaven Help Us emphatically bounced back to form last season and the Coral Cup winner is set to return to Leopardstown as part of her preparation for the Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Unlike last year, when taking a 20-runner handicap at 16-1, Heaven Help Us will be aimed at the loftier target of the Irish Champion Hurdle on 6th February, for which she is a 40/1 chance.

It is a huge price in comparison to Heaven Help Us's Mares' Hurdle odds of 9/1.

After winning back-to-back valuable handicaps across both sides of the Irish Sea, Heaven Help Us was raised 18lb in the weights up to a mark of 144.

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Consequently, Hennessy has opted to refrain from running his star mare in handicaps since and, despite flopping twice at Punchestown, there have been signs of encouragement recently.

A creditable fourth in the Grade 2 International Hurdle at Cheltenham came before losing out by only a neck to Royal Kahala in the Grade 3 Irish EBF Mares Hurdle last time out.

The distance between Heaven Help Us and another mare, the odds-on favourite and imperious Honeysuckle, is likely to be far greater than a neck in the Irish Champion, but Hennessy stressed that his mare would benefit in the long run.

Hennessy explains his choice

Explaining his decision to keep Heaven Help Us to Graded company Hennessy said: "I feel that she might get a harder race in a big-runner handicap carrying top weight, rather than running in the Irish Champion Hurdle.

"I know taking on Honeysuckle won't be simple, there's nothing simple about that, but I think it will serve as a better prep race for the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham."

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