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Henry de Bromhead happy with Honeysuckle ahead of Irish Champion Hurdle at Dublin Racing Festival

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Henry de Bromhead does not expect Honeysuckle to give up her crown lightly when she bids for fourth successive victory in the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.The nine-year-old will return to Foxrock on something of a recovery mission on Sunday week, having suffered her first defeat in 17 career starts at Fairyhouse last month.Honeysuckle looked likely to secure her fourth Hatton's Grace Hurdle after travelling strongly into the home straight, but her effort petered out between the final two flights and she was eventually beaten just under three lengths into third place behind Teahupoo and Klassical Dream.That eclipse immediately had those questioning whether the great mare was past her best, but De Bromhead insists there are no signs at home that her powers are on the wane."She seems great now, really good," said the County Waterford handler."I thought she ran well at Fairyhouse, probably not up to her highest level, but I think for her first run back she ran really well."Two and a half (miles) on ground that got very soft in the end might have just been a stretch.

She was beaten by a real soft ground specialist in Teahupoo and Klassical Dream is a high-class horse as well."She looked like she had it put to bed between the second-last and the last, and then they just came at her and that was it."We don’t see anything different here.

Maybe that will arise on the track, I don’t know. Everyone is happy. She looks good."De Bromhead insists plans beyond the Dublin Racing Festival remain fluid, with a decision on whether Honeysuckle will take on the brilliant Constitution Hill and bid for a third victory in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham likely to be dependent on how she performs at Leopardstown.The

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