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14th Mar 2023

Henry De Bromhead gives powerful interview after Honeysuckle’s fairytale final dance

Niall McIntyre

There was a fairytale end to the Honeysuckle story as the wonder-mare won her last ever race.

Honeysuckle got the perfect run in the mares’ hurdle, settling in behind Love Envoi early on before kicking for home after the last. There was no catching her up the Cheltenham hill then as under a calm ride from Rachael Blackmore, the pair eventually passed their rival and ultimately, timed their run to perfection.

Unsurprisingly, there were magical scenes in the parade ring afterwards.

This was the mare’s fourth Cheltenham festival win – she’s never been beaten in Pretsbury Park – and it was her 17th win in 19 career races.

It’s always been the plan that this would be her final dance, connections have said that for quite a while, and, as it turned out, this was the perfect way to end it.

Coming as it does on the back of a difficult year for the De Bromheads, with trainer Henry losing his son Jack, emotions were running high all over the Cotswolds after the race.

Speaking on Virgin Media Sport, Ruby Walsh broke down as the emotion of the moment dawned on him.

“This is absolutely magical,” he said.

“Rachael delivered Honeysuckle with a brilliant challenge.

“It’ll mean so much to her, to the Bromheads and to everyone else,” the Kildare man said through a breaking voice.

Fellow Champion jockey AP McCoy hailed the Waterford trainer.

“It’s hard not to feel emotional. Maybe Jack’s looking down and had some part to play in that. I’ve seen Henry win champion hurdles, Gold Cups and champion chases, but I’ve never seen him (celebrate) like that.”

The De Bromheads, Henry and Heather, soaked in the win in front of a parade ring that was in full voice afterwards.

Rachael Blackmore, meanwhile, paid tribute to Henry’s late son.

“We all wish a very special kid could be here today but he’s watching down on us. She’s a credit to everyone. It’s brilliant,” she added.

Owner Kenny Alexander also paid tribute to his trainer.

“I said before. I just wanted to win for Henry. And we did it. I’m so happy for him, his family and the stable. This guy is an amazing trainer, and he’s a top, top bloke.”

Henry then gave a powerful interview on Racing TV. He thanked his family and friends and praised the racing community.

“It’s been a really tough year, so to finish with her like that. It’s incredible. Wherever we go, the support is just unbelievable. It’s amazing people are. We’ve brilliant friends and family but the whole industry, it’s just incredible.”

Sometimes fairytales do come through.