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British breeders in spotlight as Honeysuckle lands back-to-back Hatton’s Grace Hurdles

HONEYSUCKLE (GB) landed the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse for a second consecutive time this afternoon under Rachael Blackmore on the star mare’s first appearance of the season.

The five-year-old, who was bred at The Glanvilles Stud in Dorset, upheld her unbeaten record when seeing off RONALD PUMP (GB) by half a length for trainer Henry De Bromhead. The runner-up was also bred in Britain by Whitley Stud in Gloucestershire and Tony Meehan.

A daughter of six-time Group 1 winner SULAMANI, who stood at Yorton Farm in Shropshire until he died in 2017, Honeysuckle has now triumphed in all ten of her starts for owner Kenneth Alexander, five of which have been at Grade 1 level.

The mare was produced by Dr Geoffrey Guy and Guy’s co-owners and managers of The Glanvilles Stud, Doug and Lucy Procter, out of the late LANDO mare FIRST ROYAL.

Reflecting on the victory, Doug Procter told GBRI:

It’s unbelievable really. You like to think you can breed good horses but you’d barely dare to dream that you could breed a horse to do that.

 “To win the same Grade 1 two years in a row and [to be] a five time [Grade 1 winner], you’re getting into pretty rarefied company.”

Procter continued:

“It was great that it was a British-bred one-two. It’s even more exciting that I have a mare that has got Ronald Pump in the family.

“We are always going to find it hard compared to Ireland and France because our National Hunt broodmare band is tiny by comparison. To get a one-two in a Grade 1 when you consider how comparatively few National Hunt horses we are breeding in this country is quite an achievement.”

 The Glanvilles Stud is also home to Honeysuckle’s half-sister ROCK ROYAL (GB), who is in foal to Yorton Farm sire LINDA’S LAD (GB). Her MOTIVATOR (GB) filly foal at foot will soon head to the Goffs UK sales ring.

Procter also updated GBRI on Honeysuckle’s full brother LAST ROYAL (GB), who they have kept and put into training with Keiran Burke:

“He won his bumper on debut back in the summer and then went straight to a Novice Hurdle where he was second to a 130-rated horse but came back with a minor injury, but he is now back in work and is very highly thought of by the trainer.”