There’s no disputing it, Ireland wiped the floor with British horses at both Cheltenham and Aintree. Just look at the Grand National, where 10 of the first 11 home were trained on that side of the Irish Sea. In the opening race on Friday, there was just one Irish horse in a 22-runner handicap, and it bolted up.
Such is the Irish domination, that Paddy Power have put up a £100,000 bonus for any horse trained in Britain that can come over and poach the Irish Champion Hurdle. Although this may seem cheeky at first, is there any British horse that can defeat Honeysuckle? I’ve taken a look through the antepost market, where there are three British-trained runners in Paddy Power’s offering.
Goshen is the only certainty to run, but after his Festival performance, is he trustworthy? I believe if this 25-1 shot turns up, he could roll back the years and out-run his odds. Don’t forget, make sure to check out our horse racing tips too.
Revenge for Epatante
At 5-1 with Paddy Power, Epatante is the shortest price of the British contingent. That’s no surprise, with the 2020 Champion Hurdle winner not disgraced in this year’s renewal, finishing third. Although she would never have been Honeysuckle, she did concede first run and was short of room for much of the straight.
The key to her chance is a sounder surface and she’d be more than likely to get that at Punchestown. Her best form would give her a fighting chance against Honeysuckle and her omission from Aintree may suggest Punchestown is on the agenda. Even still, she’d likely need a career-best to beat Honeysuckle and at 5-1, it’s hard to say she’s massive value.
Redemption for Goshen?
No matter how you look at it, this has been a disappointing season for Goshen. There was hope he was back to his monstrous best after a demolition job at Wincanton, but his quirks returned on the biggest stage, hanging his chance away.
He’s capable of better than that, but can he be trusted implicitly now? He’s currently a 10-1 chance in the market, which is a fair reflection on the risk that he poses after some errant performances. At 10-1, there’s no doubt about it, he’s a tempting proposition now, especially going right-handed. Gary Moore’s stable have returned to form and for Goshen, it’s perfect timing. I couldn’t necessarily put you off at his each-way odds, but he likely lacks the class of Honeysuckle, who has the same running style.
Buveur D’Air to turn back the clock?
For me, Buveur D’Air could be the biggest danger to Honeysuckle. That might seem crazy to some, but let us not forget, he won this race in 2019 and was lorded as the best hurdler around until a recent spell on the sidelines. Although poor in two subsequent starts, his run at Aintree last time was far more promising than the result suggests.
He was tanking along in the slipstream of Jason The Millitant until that horse unshipped its rider, lighting him up as a result and he was then hampered by the loose horse at the next flight. It was a nightmare turn of events for him and to finish a close fourth was a victory in itself. He went with real verve and it was a throw-back to the Buveur D’Air of old.
He’s not guaranteed to run at Punchestown, but that performance surely gave Nicky Henderson something to think about. He still retains a lot of his ability and at his prime, he’d have given Honeysuckle plenty to think about. At 25-1, he’s a bigger price than Saint Roi and the same price as James Du Berlais and I simply can’t have that. I’ll be listening carefully to Henderson’s interviews in the next week, in the hope he points the dual Champion Hurdle winner in this direction.
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