Punchestown Champion Hurdle: Honeysuckle and Constitution Hill to clash at the Punchestown Festival?

Constitution Hill is entered for the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.
Constitution Hill is entered for the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

Imperious dual Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle and runaway Supreme Novices' Hurdle victor Constitution Hill could clash in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival on April 29, as the pair feature among ten horses entered for the Grade 1 contest...

Retaining her Champion Hurdle crown in emphatic fashion at last month's Cheltenham Festival, Henry De Bromhead's Honeysuckle is expected to try and retain her Punchestown Champion Hurdle crown at the end of the month, and she is one of the star attractions in the Friday showpiece, as she looks to maintain her unbeaten record over timber.

However, she could face her toughest test to date as the Nicky Henderson-trained Constitution Hill produced arguably the finest display of the entire festival at Cheltenham last month, and the crack novice could well step out of that sphere to have a crack at Honeysuckle in the Grade 1 showpiece. Storming clear of Jonbon in sensational fashion at the end of the Supreme, Henderson's hotpot produced one of the most epic Supreme performances in recent times, and calls have been for him to have a go at inflicting Honeysuckle's first defeat under Rules.

Bookmakers Paddy Power have certainly dangled a carrot to Henderson and Constitution Hill's owner Michael Buckley, as they are putting up a €100k bonus for a British-trained winner of the 2022 Punchestown Champion Hurdle, so could the exciting British talent be sent across to have a go at winning the top class event?

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There are surprisingly four British-trained horses among the ten-strong list, and while Constitution Hill will spearhead the team his stablemate and former Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante, who was a fine winner of the Aintree Hurdle last week, could make the trip across, while the David Pipe-trained Adagio and Paul Nicholls's Monmiral also feature in the list and could embark on a quest to secure the monster bonus.

Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins hold a brace of entries each and the former could saddle Zanahiyr and Teahupoo, while the Mullins team could be represented by Saint Roi or Echoes In Rain, with the Joseph O'Brien-trained Darasso completing the list of ten horses entered.

But, the clash National Hunt fans will want to see is the duel between Honeysuckle and Constitution Hill, and will the generous bonus on offer be enough to lure the hugely exciting novice talent across to the Emerald Isle to try and down Honeysuckle.

Bring It On!

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