In This article, you will read about Honeysuckle’s Irish Champion Hurdle Victory. When a boxer enters the ring to fight Tyson Fury, there is one fact that undoubtedly plays on their mind. In addition to his intimidating stature and irrepressible thirst for victory, there is the knowledge that no one has beaten him before — that every opponent is attempting to venture into dark and murky uncharted territory. Usually, the fight is over before it has begun.
The psychology of undefeated sportspersons and teams is fascinating, and it bleeds into a variety of different disciplines. Think back to Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ of the 2003-04 season, who were unbeaten throughout the course of their Premier League triumph. Are they the greatest football team to have ever graced the division? Probably not, but the longer they went without losing, the more both they and their opponents believed that they couldn’t be beaten at all.
Indeed, ‘invincible’ is perhaps an appropriate word to use to describe Honeysuckle, the irrepressible mare who has brought so much success to trainer Henry de Bromhead in horse racing. Now unbeaten in 14 career races over hurdles, many are beginning to wonder whether this insatiable winner knows anything other than victory.
The latest exhibition of Honeysuckle’s class came in the Irish Champion Hurdle, one of the highlight events of the Dublin Racing Festival which takes place at Leopardstown each year. As usual, there were doubters claiming that this would be the moment the bubble burst, that Honeysuckle can only keep up her dominance for so long. They were all proved wrong — the eight-year-old won by a cool six and a half lengths.
And so, that aura of invincibility remains firmly intact. Add in the fact that Rachael Blackmore, the jockey who was catapulted into sporting superstardom last year with her six victories at the Cheltenham Festival and a Grand National triumph to boot, is Honeysuckle’s regular rider, and the bubble of success which surrounds the horse grows more impenetrable.
For every trainer and jockey that goes up against Honeysuckle, there is that same knowledge that defeating her is an incredibly big deal. They are not only dealing with the pressure of winning the race, but the pressure of dethroning one of the sport’s eminent forces, of stepping foot on land that has never been tread. In the heat of battle out on that racecourse, that can be enough to see a rival jockey falter.
The next destination on Honeysuckle’s road to immortality is the Cheltenham Festival, where the De Bromhead-trained mare will be chasing her third successive victory at the meeting, and her second consecutive Champion Hurdle triumph. Last year saw Blackmore and her mount make history in the race, with the Irishwoman becoming the first female jockey to win a championship race at the Cheltenham Festival. This year, the prize is simple affirmation of their respective talents.
It’s incredibly rare for a horse to go unbeaten throughout their entire career. As the wheels of time spin, new challengers come to the fore and replace the established champions. Right now, though, Honeysuckle looks scarily like she still has more to give. Many will try and usurp her at Cheltenham despite the Cheltenham 2022 tips, to steal the glory for themselves, but there is likely to be no let-up from this indomitable champion.