I remember the years 2011 and 2012 when Frankel was racing and it became difficult to say anything new or interesting about him, when Henry Cecil’s brilliant colt went from race to race and won each one.
Regarded as the greatest flathorse of all time, he went unbeaten in 14 races and earned a timeform rating of 147, the highest they have ever given in that code.
That’s a few pounds more than the likes of Sea Bird, Brigadier Gerard and Tudor Minstrel – who predated my time by a few years but will be fondly remembered by some older readers.
Owned by Scottish businessman Kenny Alexander, who enjoys a good bet, Honeysuckle may not pass as the greatest hurdler of all time, and that’s partly because she hasn’t had any standout opponents to prove herself, but let’s not take that away from her away . She did everything she was asked to do.
In that regard, it is disappointing that Constitution Hill, which holds Timeform’s highest rating to date for a novice hurdler, will not make the voyage across the Irish Sea to compete in Friday’s Grade One Paddy Power Champion Hurdle (5.25). battle.
He’s only five so in a way it’s understandable that Nicky Henderson would want to protect him and take his time, but what a clash it would have been. Nevertheless, we can look forward to a lot today.
As a mare, Honeysuckle gets a 7lb allowance, so that’s also a reason for critics to take some of the shine off her performances. But make no mistake, Honeysuckle is a box office hit.
She’s one of those rare animals that lure players onto the track just to see her up close, although it’s hardly worth having a punt as bookies go 1/5 over the eight year old in the early markets.
Of course their jockey Rachael Blackmore gets the crowds through the turnstiles and whether they win or lose they are in for a fantastic reception afterwards from men and women, young and old. It’s fantastic to have such great ambassadors for Irish racing.
The partnership is one of the great stories of the sport, and one thing Honeysuckle has in common with Frankel is that people like me have nothing good to say about them anymore, with 15 straight wins by rules or 16 if you’re with them involve point-to-point success early. I should also mention their trainer, Henry de Bromhead, who risks being overshadowed but is doing a wonderful job with Honeysuckle and all the others in his care.
Even though Honeysuckle is mostly unsustainable at prices these days, you still hold your breath every time she races and feel relieved afterwards when horse and jockey get home safely.
If she loosens up her lines in any way, Saint Roi or Teahupoo are most likely to benefit, but it’s highly unlikely. As I said, this is a box office hit so don’t miss it whether it’s at the racetrack or live on TV – and enjoy it while it lasts because all good things come to an end.
One horse worth an award today is Fighter Allen, who was chalked up 3/1 for the always mighty Willie Mullins and Paul Townend team in the Grade A EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase (4.15).
A half brother to Envoi Allen, the seven-year-old was useful for wood but came over fences in good style at Tramore earlier this month.
A 144 opening handicap seems reasonably fair and he should have more to come. French Dynamite and Blue Sari are others for the shortlist.
Day 4 race-by-race guide
A difficult race to judge with much of the form coming from point to point but AN DROICHEAD GORM could be the one to side with here at 7/4. He gained a Monksgrange point last month and should have an advantage over 2018 winner Alpha Male, who is now 11 years old.
Coached by Willie Mullins, FIGHTER ALLEN makes his handicap debut and should have more to reach a 144 rating. He’s a decent bet at 6/1, although players like French Dynamite, who won a Note Three at Thurles, won’t let him have it all his way.
ELIMAY won the mare hunt at Cheltenham and at £5 in hand by official ratings over nearest rivals Scarlet And Dove looks like a solid bet, albeit at an odds price of around 4/5.
Last year’s winner HONEYSUCKLE is irresistible for Henry de Bromhead, but is priced accordingly with 1/5. This is a race to enjoy without a bet, however, as the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle heroine, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, is aiming for her 16th straight win.
A fascinating hurdle for beginners. Kilcruit has claims based on his third place finish to Constitution Hill in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – but stablemate STATE MAN instead gets the nod at 11/8 after a nice win in the County Hurdle Handicap at Cheltenham last time out.
He will inevitably be short and traded at even money last night but BILLAWAY should take all the beatings for Willie and Patrick Mullins. He finished second that last year and has since won two races including the Hunters’ Chase of the Festival Challenge Cup at Cheltenham.
Another French import for Willie Mullins, EL FABIOLO won his Irish debut at Tramore by 13 lengths. He showed plenty of promise in a Grade One at Aintree and traded under 1/10 at Betfair before finishing second to Jonbon. At 5/4 he will be hard to beat.
A big field bumper is always a tough puzzle, but the standout one is DON CHALANT, released yesterday 11/4. was available. He still has three tries to win but he’s close and will surely find the bull’s eye soon.
Stat Attack: Follow Festival Favorite
Backing the clear favorite in the Irish jump race gives you a 36 percent win rate (18,650 races analyzed since 2008).
The bad news is that you would lose an average of €8.48 per €100 wagered at SP, or €2.45 at Betfair SP (BSP).
At the Punchestown Festival, the 33 percent favorite shows a lower strike rate than the national average and higher losses when blindly assisted. Some races do better than others here, however, with the rookie hurdle favorites boasting a high 48 percent hit rate since 2008, with 29 winners from 60 bets. On average, you would have made €8.93 for every €100 wagered on SP, or €12.96 on BSP.
Bumper favorites also have a profitable record with 28 winners from 84 bets (33 percent) and while you would have broken even at SP, an average profit of €10.24 per €100 stake was achieved at BSP.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/punchestown/honeysuckle-is-an-all-time-great-but-its-a-pity-we-were-denied-a-battle-with-constitution-hill-41598131.html Honeysuckle is always great – but it’s a shame we were denied a fight with Constitution Hill