IT was all about hurdlers as the jumps season took another step closer to Cheltenham last weekend.
Two established stars were on show and HONEYSUCKLE is an even stronger Champion Hurdle favourite after her impressive Hatton’s Grace Hurdle success at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
She just cantered round on the bridle until scorching away from her rivals after the last.
She wasn’t beating trees with Abacadbras more than 12 lengths away in third.
Honeysuckle follows in the hoofprints of Solerina and Apple’s Jade by winning this for the third time.
EPATANTE and NOT SO SLEEPY dead-heated for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle 24 hours earlier.
It was good to see the 2020 Champion Hurdler back and running well but the fact she couldn’t beat this year’s fifth in the big race suggests she’s playing for place money next March.
With that in mind, 14-1 is not a bad price at all each-way although I still prefer the chances of Ferny Hollow who is available at the same price.
But this was a Grade 1 success in its own right and both horses deserve a pat on the back for that alone.
The 2022 Champion Hurdle looked an open-and-shut case seconds after Honeysuckle crossed the line to win the 2021 version and nothing has changed that.
Even money would be a good price on the day so, if you’re brave, it’s the one to take now.
JONBON leapt to the head of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle market with an easy success at Newbury on Friday.
It may have been just a Class 3 but the race has been an important pointer to the future with the likes of Buveur D’Air on its roll of honour.
This five-year-old wears the same JP McManus colours and was impressive when pulling easily clear up the straight.
He had been headstrong before but seems to be learning and can go on from this.
Take no notice of the time though as there was a farcical wait of a minute after the tapes went up before they started racing.
He’s now 7-2 for the Supreme which could turn out to be a steal but there’s the proven Grade 1 class of Willie Mullins’ Kilcruit lurking at 4s.
A lot depends on whether he heads for the Ballymore instead come March.
FREE BETS GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to SE. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chases their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org