New Mare On The Block Honeysuckle Ticks All The Boxes

Paisley Park was the stand-out performer in Newbury on Friday.

Newbury on Friday
He beat Thistlecrack, who was having his first run for a long time. He’s not a flash horse but he always looked in control of things. It was a good performance and I presume connections were delighted with how he started off.

It’ll be onwards and upward for him – Ascot is the next stepping stone and it’ll all lead back to the Stayers Hurdle again.

For me, he’s the horse they have to beat in the Stayers Hurdle.

I still think Champ needs to brush up his jumping. He was lucky early on and Barry did a good job to stay on him. He definitely has to go left-handed – he has a tendency to jump out to his left which will obviously suit him around Cheltenham. There’s no doubt that the race for him is the RSA.

Newbury on Saturday
It was a disappointing performance from Reserve Tank. At no stage in the race did I think he was going to win. He never travelled and he didn’t feel comfortable. He just felt very, very flat in himself. His run on Saturday reminded me of his run in Newbury last year over hurdles. He’ll probably have a break now, we won’t see him over the Christmas period.

It was a great performance for De Rasher Counter and a great weekend for Emma Lavelle. I thought Elegant Escape ran a big race on top weight, finishing third.

I’d imagine he’ll be going for the Welsh National next.

I don’t think it was the strongest of races though – usually you could have a Gold Cup horse in this race.

Fighting Fifth
Cornerstone Lad got a soft lead in front and Henry Brooke gave him a great ride. Buveur D’Air got to him and, to be fair to the winner, he battled back to win. It was a good performance. I think Buveur D’Air has picked up a nasty injury so I’m not sure we’ll see him in Kempton over Christmas.

I think the old Buveur D’Air would have picked the winner up no problem at all. It was a slightly lacklustre performance from Buveur D’Air.

Fairyhouse on Sunday
It was a good performance from Cerberus, to win the opener. I still think he won on merit. I still think if he was on level weights he would have beaten Wave Of The Sea.

They’re the two stand-out juveniles in Ireland by a mile so far this season.

It’s hard to look past the two of them for the Juveniles Hurdle on the first day of Leopardstown over Christmas.

I thought it was a brilliant performance from Envoi Allen. I thought between the last two that Abacadabras would have a bit more speed than Envoi Allen. I imagine when Envoi Allen steps up in trip, you’re going to see an even better horse. I was very, very impressed with him.

Ronald Pump was just starting to creep into the race and made a mistake four out. He’ll definitely be a better horse over three miles. It was a great performance from the winner but the race was robbed of what would have been a great finish by Samcro. I got the feeling that Samcro was going better in the race and he definitely would have stayed well. It was the only disappointment of a great day’s racing.

Honeysuckle was unbelievable. She’s a very, very good mare.

This was her first time up against the big boys and she delivered in some style.

Apple’s Jade looks to be a shadow of her former self and I think Honeysuckle is the new mare on the block. She’s obviously going to go down the Mares Hurdle route but it would be great to see a mare like her in the Stayers Hurdle or even dropping back to the Champion Hurdle. She showed plenty of pace and when Rachel gave her a squeeze she quickened up well. She’s a very, very good mare and I can’t see past her for the Mares Hurdle.

She’ll be an exciting mare if she goes chasing next season too. She ticks all the boxes.