Teahupoo caused a panic in Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle as Honeysuckle’s unbeaten run ended at Fairyhouse.
Henry De Bromhead’s mare has started her season by winning the race in the last three years and posted a bid to make history by becoming the first four-time winner of the Grade One race.
Starting what is expected to be her final coaching season, everything seems to be going to plan for the eight-year-old and her ever-present partner Rachael Blackmore as she heads two from home.
But Willie Mullins’ Klassical Dream and Teahupoo were a long way off in the final stretch, and it was Gordon Elliott’s 20/1 shot who made a big run in the final stretch to win over the line.
De Bromhead said: “It’s a horse race and unfortunately he’s been beaten and that’s it. We’ve raced him for a long time and we’re going. He’ll be beaten one day. He’s been amazing and fair. To the winner.”
Teahupoo was well beaten by Honeysuckle at Cheltenham and Punchestown last time, but Elliott felt it might have been against the grain of his reputation this time around, with the soft ground of Fairyhouse being better.
He said: “He was very good last year on soft ground and we ran him on good ground a few times which was probably a mistake but we are still learning about the horse. Jack rode him amazingly. He let it all happen. in front of him and there is only one winning post.”
‘I thought the mare was invincible’
Teahupoo owner Brian Acheson admitted he had mixed feelings about the win.
He said: “That was unexpected. I came here wanting Honey to keep winning and when we finished second, it was brilliant.
“We have a close relationship with Kenny (Alexander, owner of Honeysuckle) and Henry. I’m in awe. I thought the mare was unbeatable – she’s going to beat me tonight. It’s sad the run is over. I just hope she comes back and beats Constitution Hill (at Cheltenham)!”
Honeysuckle is now an 8/1 shot with Coral to win a third Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, while Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill has been cut to 2/7 from 4-7 in the event. Betfair offers 5/1 for Honeysuckle’s chances in the Mares’ Hurdle, a race he won in 2020.
The mighty Potter gives Elliott his seventh Drinmore title
Powerful Potter He also claimed the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse to give Elliott his seventh race victory.
A two-time Grade One winner over hurdles last season, he added his third top prize and first over fences to a Grade One over two-and-a-half miles and a gentle length of four-and-a-half.
One of the two most successful sprinters in the competition, Mighty Potter was a regular rider in the hands of Jack Kennedy and put on a show of running and jumping.
Kennedy looked to have more horses under him after being briefly pressed by Gaillard Du Mesnil in the home straight but eventually had too much gear for his more experienced opponent after the final race, to take a stunning victory.
Elliott, who has won the race with the likes of Envoi Allen (2020), Delta Work (2018) and his Gold Cup champion Don Cossack (2013) in the past, saw Three Stripe Life promoted following a mistake by Davy Russell.
But all eyes at Cullenra House will be on the winner, who was cut 5/1 from 10s with Coral for the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.