Cheltenham Festival: Henry De Bromhead thrilled as Honeysuckle, Put The Kettle On and Minella Indo chase success | Race News

Bromhead’s Henry admits excitement is building for the Cheltenham Festival as he puts the finishing touches to preparations for his three defending champions.

The pair triumphed in the Unibet Champion Hurdle and Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup respectively last year, and Honeysuckle are particularly hot favorites heading into Tuesday’s event, in which they will look to extend their unbeaten streak to 15.

The eight-year-old added a third Irish Hurdle champion to her tally at Leopardstown last month – a 10th year triumph overall – after the relationship briefly flirted with the idea of ​​going over the fences this term .

Henry De Bromhead kisses the Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy after Minella Indo success

De Bromhead is delighted that owner Kenny Alexander has chosen to stick with hurdles and is planning a stern review for the first lady of obstacle racing next week.

He said: “Obviously we had to discuss whether she should go hunting at the start of the season, but I think Honey made the decision for us and we were all happy to stay on the fences.

“Once we decided to do it, we felt ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it’ and we stayed on the same course as last year. Knock on wood, it has gone well so far.

“It’s shaping up to be a very good race, as you would expect from any Champion Hurdle. I thought last year was also very good.”

Jack Kennedy wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Minella Indo
Jack Kennedy wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Minella Indo

Minella Indo’s chances of retaining her title are not so clear after a mixed campaign, stopping in the King George VI Chase before finding something of her usual form in the Irish Gold Cup.

He fended off A Later’s challenge to triumph at Prestbury Park last year and his stablemate is favorite this year after demolition work in the Betfair Chase at Haydock before a narrow defeat at the hands of Galvin’s opposition in the Savills Chase at Christmas. .

“I was obviously getting very excited last year. I was worried my two would be gone and picked up by Paul Townend (on Al Boum Photo) at this point but they held up really well and it was amazing,” De Bromhead told the Jockey Club.

“They are both in great form and doing very well this year. A Plus Tard performed very well the other day and Indo had a great run in the Irish Gold Cup so they are both very good.”

Put The Kettle On (orange and black) beat Nube Negra (left) to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March
Put The Kettle On (orange and black) beat Nube Negra (left) to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March

In what was quite a memorable festival for the Knockeen trainer, he also landed the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase with Put The Kettle On in a thrilling finish.

The eight-year-old has struggled to find her best since that victory, beaten in the Celebration Chase at Sandown before failing to shine in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November or when she stepped up her journey and fell to the third grade level at Fairy House.

However, De Bromhead kept the faith and Put The Kettle On would shoot for Champion Chase gold again, rather than tackle the Grade Two Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase.

“She’s turning her butt and getting angrier and fresher again, which is a good sign. She worked really well the other day, so we’re delighted with her,” De Bromhead said.

“She has the option of chasing the mares, but we felt she had the right to go back and defend her crown and that’s where we’re going.”

The Waterford coach could also lead Envoi Allen in the Champion Chase, with the Cheveley Park racer having suffered early on when he was a heavily backed favorite at the Festival last year.

“He’s in great form and worked really well the other day. No final decision has been made. He’s in the Ryanair and Champion Chase and we’ll see sooner,” De Bromhead said.

Bob Olinger was on target in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for the team in 2021 and he will be back for more as a short term market leader in the Turners Novices’ Chase.

Winner of two relatively low-key pursuits to date, Bob Olinger will pass the two-and-a-half-mile test rather than go more than three miles in the Brown Advisory.

De Bromhead added: “He will be taking part in Turners’ Novice pursuit. His performance last year was really impressive and he’s been good this year, so hopefully he will go and do something similar.”

Harry Skelton is dethroned from My Drogo (near side) as Gin On Lime rises with Rachael Blackmore still on board
Harry Skelton is dethroned from My Drogo (near side) as Gin On Lime rises with Rachael Blackmore still on board

Gin On Lime won a quite remarkable rookie hunt at Cheltenham on his last start in November.

His only rival, the sidelined My Drogo, looked poised for victory as he raced again at the penultimate fence, only to slide on the landing and dislodge his rider.

Gin On Lime also slipped after this close, but Rachael Blackmore managed to keep the partnership going and regain enough momentum to clear the final close and she could challenge the mares chase on the final day of the Festival.

De Bromhead said: “She seems in good shape, obviously she was maybe a lucky winner there last year, but she had a really good season. We pulled her back and gave her a really good break and I think she’s aiming there but we haven’t confirmed yet.

“We’re probably all a little excited at this point and it’s just about trying to keep everything on track.

“You might leave a few at reporting time to finalize where you’re going. The way we travel is that our Tuesday and Wednesday riders leave on Saturday and our Thursday and Friday riders leave on Monday, while I I won’t come on Sundays.

“We’re probably hoping to bring in 15-20 horsepower, which is pretty similar to last year.”

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