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Horse Racing - Racing: Honeysuckle defends perfect record

The remarkable Honeysuckle puts her unbeaten record on the line once more and is "in mighty form" according to her trainer Henry de Bromhead as she looks to defend her Punchestown Champion Hurdle title.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained mare won the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle for the second time on her last start, with a three and a half-length victory over subsequent Aintree scorer Epatante and Honeysuckle is 1/5 to win again on Friday.

Epatante not among Punchestown challengers

With her old rival not declared for the Punchestown day four feature, it looks like the admirable mare will continue her procession of the 2m hurdling division, which included taking this race by two and a quarter lengths on her only visit to the track.

De Bromhead said: "She seems really well. She had to battle to win at Punchestown last year, but they went some pace in it and I think she did what she had to do and was good on the day."

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She takes on five runners in this year's renewal, all of whom she has beaten before, including the 20/1 sole British challenger Adagio - trained by David Pipe, who saddled a placed runner on day two of the five-day Festival.

Blackmore continues on board

Rachael Blackmore has been on board for every victory since she made a winning racecourse debut back in 2018 and her record now stands at an unbelievable 15-15 under rules - she also won her only start in points - with her trainer believing it's the way she wins that allows her to keep going.

"I think it's a fair comment to say she only does what she needs to in order to win her races," he added.

"And that probably has helped her keep reproducing so consistently throughout her career. It's a privilege for all of us to be associated with her."

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