Honeysuckle retains Champion Hurdle

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Rachael Blackmore on Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle, under Rachael Blackmore, won by three and a half lengths
Dates: 15-18 March Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse Races: 13:30-17:30 GMT Main race: 15:30
Coverage: Commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, feature races Radio 5 Live. Racecards, live text, results & reports on the BBC Sport website and app.

Rachael Blackmore rode unbeaten mare Honeysuckle to a thrilling second consecutive Champion Hurdle win on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The Irish rider steered the 8-11 favourite to a 15th successive career victory for trainer Henry de Bromhead.

Honeysuckle and Blackmore were given a rousing reception after finishing ahead of 2020 champion Epatante and Zanahiyr.

Blackmore made history as the first female rider to win Tuesday’s big race last year.

She went on to be the first woman to be the meeting’s top jockey and then won the Grand National on Minella Times.

Honeysuckle is the first mare to win the Champion Hurdle twice.

Last year’s meeting was held behind closed doors because of Covid-19 and this time a crowd of nearly 70,000 roared home the runners.

“Walking out in front of the stands with all the people, it’s such a special place,” said Blackmore, 26.

“I’m so lucky to ride winners here and this mare – she’s just incredible.”

More to follow.

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